Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Residents getting skin irritations from flood water and cleaning products

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BATON ROUGE – Many residents are suffering from unsightly skin rashes and doctors say it is a result of last month's flooding.

Michelle Shamburger, resident of Baton Rouge, noticed a rash developing on her wrist about a week and a half ago.

"I looked down and I had these little red bumps creeping all the way up my forearm to my elbows and then a couple of hours later, it had spread to my other arm and then by the time I woke up the next morning, on Tuesday morning, I was covered head to toe," Shamburger said.

Shamburger was in the flood water when it came into her home. She was also in contact with it as she mucked it out.

"It doesn't feel like anything and it really only every now and then does it itch. It doesn't itch constantly," Shamburger said.

Shamburger said that two of her friends also developed a rash. Her dermatologist said that harsh cleaning products could have caused the irritation. However, Dr. Stefanie Frederic said that it also could have been the flood water.

"There's bacteria in that water that can cause Cellulitis or other skin infections, most commonly due to Staph, but there's others. If there's any untreated sewage in the water, you worry about E. coli and other fecal bacteria causing infection," Dr. Frederic said.

The rash is not deadly, but the doctor said that residents should protect their skin when cleaning out their homes and businesses and should see a doctor if they get a rash.

"They would have some redness, some tenderness and some swelling, especially if it feels warm or if they are running fever, they should seek medical attention," Dr. Frederic said.

Dermatologists said that if residents get a rash and they can't see a doctor right way, they can use an over the counter anti-biotic cream like Neosporin.


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