What’s Going Around: Hand, foot and mouth, strep throat, swimmer’s ear


Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw a sharp increase in hand, foot and mouth disease, as well as a few summer viruses that involve fevers, sore throat, congestion and headaches.

They also saw a slight increase in strep throat, to about 40 percent of the sore throats seen.

Croup held steady and they continued to see a high number of swimmer’s ear cases.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about hand, foot and mouth disease:

“Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by one of a handful of viruses, particularly the Coxsackie (pronounced like it’s spelled) virus. The rash appears as flat or slightly raised red spots with a small, fluid-filled bubble. It is often accompanied by a fever and decreased appetite and energy.

The rash can be found from head to toe, and often appears in clusters on the palms/fingers, soles/toes, lips and buttocks. Fingernails and toenails may appear abnormal or even fall off weeks later. (Don’t worry, they will grow back!) When the lesions occur in the mouth, they will cause a very painful sore throat that may affect your child’s willingness to eat or drink.

There is no cure, and the virus will run its course in five to seven days. During this time, hydration is the No. 1 goal. Ice water, popsicles, cold smoothies and crushed ice can soothe the throat and maintain hydration. Your child will regain lost calories once feeling better.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is contagious as long as your child has a fever and/or intact bubbles within the rash. Once the rash begins to crust over and the fever improves, the virus can no longer be spread.

The virus can remain on surfaces for long periods of time. Toy-sharing is a major way of spreading the virus, particularly in day-care and school settings. Disinfecting toys and surfaces is a good way to lower the risk of infection.”

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Cumberland County reports rashes, bug bites, poison ivy, cough and colds, swimmer’s ear and ear infections.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics in Cumberland County reports diarrhea illnesses, strep throat, hand, foot and mouth, and local bug bite reactions.

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