What's Going Around: grass allergies, strep throat, ear infections

Strep throat is typically reported in the colder months of the year, but there are cases in Southwest Louisiana this week.  Plus, grass allergies are leading to upper respiratory problems and there are more ear infections as we are now in peak swim season.


e 4th of July holiday weekend brought lots of people outside and that exposed them to allergies now wreaking havoc on the upper respiratory system.  Keysha Nabours is a nurse practitioner with Imperial Health Urgent Care in Moss Bluff.  “We're getting patients that are coming in with runny nose, sneezing, coughing, because the allergens are so high right now, the pollen count, especially with grasses,” she said.

A steroid nasal spray like Nasonex and antihistamines can keep symptoms at bay.

Allergies can also lead to throat irritation.  One of the worst throat ailments is strep throat and there is a rise in local cases this week.  “Whenever they come in with a sore throat that you don't have a cough, you don't have a runny nose, but you have fever, you may have swelling of glands in your neck,” said Nabours, “sometimes you have a rash or abdominal pain and sometimes nausea and vomiting.”

Antibiotics are prescribed to treat confirmed strep and that is in order to prevent complications like rheumatic fever.

From summer swim lessons to pool parties and recreational fun on the water, that exposure to water is causing more ear infections and cases of swimmer’s ear.  “People are coming in with sudden onset of ear pain, swelling of the ear, drainage, fever,” said Nabours, “what happens is whenever they go swimming, the moisture stays in their ear canal and it leads to infection.”

If you want to avoid those nasty ear infections, use ear plugs the next time you go swimming and when you are done showering or bathing, use a towel to dry the outer edges of your ears.

Another tip: do not use Q-tips to clean the inside of your ear.  This gets rid of healthy, protective ear wax.

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