The humidity can really exacerbate heat-related issues in our valley this time of year. That’s just one thing local doctors are talking about when looking at “What’s Going Around” the area where you live.
The heat and humidity was brutal over the last week in Palm Springs. That meant Dr. Michael Jardula saw lots of patients with respiratory illness. People with a history of emphysema and bronchitis especially had problems. The heavy use of air conditioning also breeds allergens coming in to the environment.
Watch out for mayonnaise this time of year. It is notorious for going bad in the heat. Dr. Frank Arian saw a set of patients suffering severe diarrhea and vomiting because of it. If mayo isn’t kept cool it can go bad in less than an hour. That includes macaroni, potato salads, slaws, ranch and other mayo-based salad dressings! “Once bacteria get onto their exponential growth phase of their growth curve they literally explode in numbers and the food seems to almost go bad instantly,” Dr. Arian says. In Palm Springs a light respiratory illness and a mild febrile illness is moving though the population. It appears to pass in about three days. And with heat related illnesses top of mind…remember how to properly cool someone down. In Dr. Arian’s opinion, that “is the most important thing we can teach the general public at this time.” Get their clothes off, wet the skin with cool water, and fan it off. Do NOT apply ice, or frigid water. Do NOT drape a wet towel on a patient, or the wet suit effect will keep them warm, and make it worse. The body has several mechanisms and physical processes by which it is able to cool itself. “Give the patient cool electrolyte fluids to drink and get OUT of the sun,” Dr. Arian says. “Once heat exhaustion or heat stroke has occurred, it is far more likely to happen again in the near future and vigorous hydration and heat exposure prevention must be obeyed.”
It’s still late in the season for allergies, but the folks at Desert Oasis Healthcare Pediatrics in La Quinta are still seeing this. Swimmer’s ear is still on the rise because of so many people using the pool over the summer. Special drops in the ear before you go swimming can help prevent this. Pink eye is also on the rise. Crusty, red eyes are classic signs, but could indicate other eye conditions as well, so make sure you see your doctor, and do plenty of handwashing to avoid spreading this to others.
Heat related illnesses really need a review this time of year. This guide from Dr. Randolph Gibbs at the Mecca Clinic. Milder forms show up with headaches, weakness and dizziness. Treatment for hyperthermia may include cold water submersion, removing excess clothing, and moving to a cooler place. In addition, Dr. Gibbs reports cases of hives. Allergens, food additives, medication or infections could be to blame. “Physical stimuli, like heat or cold, can also trigger this condition,” he says.
Watch “What’s Going Around” Tuesday evenings at 5:30 and Wednesday mornings at 6:45 on CBS Local 2 News.