What’s Going Around: Croup, strep throat


Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville PediatricS continued to see a lot of viral colds with fevers as well as an ongoing increase in seasonal allergies.

Croup cases increased significantly.

Strep throat increased slightly to around 30 percent of sore throat cases seen. However, most sore throats were from colds with post-nasal drainage causing irritation.

They continue to see the stomach bug holding steady with last week’s higher numbers. In babies, bronchiolitis has started to rise, though they have seen fewer than 20 cases this week.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about sore throats:

“With cooler weather, sore throats are unfortunately common. The most common causes are viruses, postnasal drip and strep.

Viruses often cause additional nasal congestion and fevers, which can lead to throat pain. This pain will typically last throughout the day and go away in two to four days until the immune system kills off the virus.

A virus or allergies can cause increased production of mucous in the nose, which can lead to an increase in postnasal drainage. Combined with an increase in mouth breathing as a result of nasal congestion, the throat becomes raw. Drinking water, warm tea or honey will greatly improve a sore throat from postnasal drip much more than a sore throat from a virus or strep.

Strep throat tends to be a more severe sore throat, with frequent swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck. Strep often comes along with headaches and belly pain or nausea, and typically does NOT come with nasal congestion or runny nose. The diagnosis of strep is only made with a throat culture, so if your child has a sore throat with either headache or belly symptoms, it’s a good idea to get them to their doctor’s office for testing.

Mononucleosis, or “mono” for short, is a virus that affects the spleen, lymph nodes and tonsils while causing a body-wide illness with or without extreme fatigue. Though in the past it has been called “the kissing disease,” mono is spread through secretions and even coughing. You can get mono at any age-not just in the teen years. When mono affects the tonsils, they can become red, swollen and covered in pus. The only way to test for mono is a blood test ordered by your child’s doctor.

Dangerous symptoms that warrant an immediate call to the doctor include: difficulty swallowing to the point where your child is drooling because they cannot swallow their saliva; severe pain on one side of the throat that causes the voice to become very whispery; or sore throat accompanied by distressed breathing or the child feeling like they can’t inhale enough air.”

UPMC Pinnacle in Camp Hill is seeing croup this week. Croup is a viral upper respiratory infection that causes a very barky cough, hoarse voice, sore throat and usually a fever the first three to five days. The cough with croup is worst in the middle of the night and early morning hours.

The virus that causes croup causes swelling and mucous around the vocal cords. This creates a hoarse voice and the classic croup cough that can sound barky like a dog or seal.

The younger the child is, the more difficulty they have with this cough. In young children, they can have stridor, which is a loud breathing sound from the vocal cords.

The best thing to help the cough is moisture, such as running a cool mist humidifier in the room while they sleep or offering cold or warm clear liquids to drink. If a young child is upset and crying, this will make the stridor worse, so calming them should help. Sometimes sitting in a steamy bathroom can help. If your child appears to be having trouble breathing and none of these things help, you should call your medical provider immediately.

This week the CVS MinuteClinic in York saw viral upper respiratory infections and patients seeking the flu vaccine.

Pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State Health Medical Group are continuing to see more viral upper respiratory illnesses.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Dauphin, York and Perry counties reports coughs, congestion and strep throat.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics reports strep throat, upper respiratory infections and colds.

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