LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

KUSA - Dr. John Torres from Premier Urgent Care answers your questions every week. If you have a medical question for Dr. John, send it to mornings@9news.com and make sure to have Ask Dr. John in the subject line.

Question #1
For years I went to numerous doctors when I would awake with red welts on my legs or back. It was finally resolved as hormone related hives, during peri-menopause. They occurred for years, but finally went away as time went on.

Answer
Hives are an allergic reaction that results in the skin developing reddish, raised welts that frequently itch. They can involve most areas of the skin. Hives alone are concerning because of the nature of the allergy, especially if they continue to spread. But they become even more concerning if they involve swelling of anything in the airway area including the lips, mouth or throat. For regular hives antihistamines can usually help keep it under control. If more medication is needed than steroids are sometimes used to help tame the allergy response. When it comes to figuring out what causes the hives in the first place it's often times hard to figure it out, at least initially. Just about anything we ingest, touch or breath in can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Although hormone related allergies and hives are rare they do happen. One way to help detect what is causing hives is to keep an allergy journal, writing down what you ate, put on your body or where you were just before the hives broke out. Another way is by having allergy testing. This can be done in a variety of ways and can help pinpoint what you are and are not allergic too, which can help streamline treatment as well.

Question #2
Dear Dr. John, I am 56 years old, overweight and usually walk 5 to 12 miles per day. My parents were chain smokers and I was told 36 years ago that I have chronic bronchitis and COPD. I have spent most of my life on the East Coast, but moved to Boulder 8 years ago. Every other year I now get acute bronchitis that lasts for 6 to 12 weeks, and keeps me from exercise. Should I move back to the humidity of the coast, or stay in Boulder, where the air is cleaner but much dryer? Thank you. Betty

Answer
Second-hand smoke can go a long way towards causing health issues, especially in children exposed to cigarette smoke over many years. It can even affect them later in life by increasing their chances of developing COPD, emphysema and even lung cancer. This is especially true if their parents smoked inside the house and even more so inside cars when children were present regardless of whether the window was cracked a bit or rolled down all the way. COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, usually presents itself as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. How bad the symptoms of COPD are depends on the severity of the disease, how well treatment works and to some extent where you live. Some COPD sufferers do better at lower altitudes so if symptoms prove hard to treat here in Colorado a doctor might recommend moving to sea level to help assist breathing.

Question #3
Within the last few weeks Mark K told about children having a bumpy rash that could be shared by sharing towels. Can you remember it and tell me what it was? I think my grandchild has it on his elbow. What do we treat it with? Ann

Answer
Different types of skin infections are spread by direct contact, whether that contact is skin to skin or even from shard items like towels. This is particularly true for common rashes. Ringworm and impetigo are some of the types that can easily spread from person to person. So too is one called molluscum contagiosum. This is a hard, bumpy rash that tends to spread quicker in wet environments, like around swimming pools. The rash can last for weeks or months and usually goes away on its own but in some cases it can leave scars behind. If it doesn't go away on its own then the lesions can be burned or scrapped which can help reduce their numbers. The best way to avoid these types of rashes in your children is to talk with them about not sharing their personal items, like towels, clothes or hats.