What’s Going Around: Hand foot and mouth, poison ivy


UPMC Pinnacle in Camp Hill has seen cases of hand, foot and mouth this week.

“This virus can start with a fever, sometimes high fever up to 105 for three to five days,” Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman said. “Then tiny blisters start to show up, typically around the mouth, on the hands and feet and often in the diaper area. Blisters also develop on the back of the mouth or throat and sometimes on the tongue. This causes a sore throat. Many children drool and refuse to drink or eat.

Hand, foot and mouth virus is very contagious. If you see a rash like this on your child or if they are not drinking well or saying they have a sore throat, you’re advised to call your medical provider.

“There is no treatment for hand foot and mouth,” Zimmerman said. “It will resolve on its own after about seven days. However, your child should not go to school while they have the fever or rash. It is important to make sure your child is drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated. If you feel they are not, call your doctors office for guidance on pain control and signs of dehydration.”

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw an increase in poison ivy and sunburns.

Ear infections, particularly “swimmer’s ear,” continue to be high. They have continued to evaluate tick bites and Lyme cases.

Sore throats have been a combination of strep, summer viruses and mono. The stomach bug decreased compared to last week but was still seen.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about poison ivy:

“Poison ivy, also known as Allergic “Rhus” contact dermatitis, is a specific rash caused by the immune system’s reaction to the oils found on specific types of plants. These rashes tend to occur only in very specific places of the body that are exposed to the plant or its oils.

The poison ivy rash is typically very red and intensely itchy due to the inflammatory reaction of the skin’s immune system. Contact with the fluid-filled bubbles in the skin does not spread the rash, assuming the oils from the plant are off of the skin. Oils that are still on a person’s skin or clothes can be transferred to another person, causing a rash on their skin. When the bubbles rupture, they can leave an area of red, raw-appearing skin that will eventually scab over and heal.

It’s imperative to wipe off any objects that may have come in contact with the oils on poison ivy leaves (garden tools, shoes, gloves, dog fur, backpacks, clothing, etc.), as the oil will stay on these objects for days to weeks and can continue to be transferred to skin long after the initial exposure. It’s also important to thoroughly wash hands, arms and other exposed skin immediately after hikes to rinse away any potential oils from unseen poison ivy.

Treatment is typically conservative, but if the rash is widespread or on the face, oral steroids may be indicated. Your child’s doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic cream or oral medication for areas of broken skin, which can be a high risk for bacterial infection. Cool baths and drying agents, such as calamine lotion, can help provide relief.”

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Cumberland County reports ear pain and earaches, pink eye, sore throats, cough and colds, rashes, allergies.

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