What’s Going Around: Flu, high fevers, croup, strep throat


Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports the flu has come to Lancaster. Roseville saw its first influenza case this week, along with other viral illnesses with high fevers.

Croup and bronchiolitis continue to rise in younger kids. Sinusitis and ear infections continue to occur as issues caused by initial viral colds. Strep continues to stay at around 35 percent of sore throats.

Dr. Joan Thode offers the following advice on how to distinguish the flu from viral upper respiratory infections:

“Sometimes when kids have high fevers, it’s hard to know if they have the flu versus a bad cold. Though there is some overlap between the symptoms, there are a few key differences that can help guide parents.

Onset of symptoms: With colds, the related sore throat and coughing tend to escalate over the first few days, due in large part to increasing nasal mucous and postnasal drip. The respiratory symptoms of cough and chest pain as well as the sore throat caused by influenza tend to occur more acutely and at a much higher severity than with a cold.

Muscle pain: Colds typically do not involve muscle pain, whereas influenza tends to cause intense muscle pain. This can often make movement and walking not appealing and adds to the child’s misery significantly. There can also be joint pain, though no joint swelling.

Concurrent GI symptoms: While postnasal drainage into the stomach can make a young child queasy, and the cough related to colds can cause some gagging that sometimes results in vomiting, colds typically do not involve the GI tract. Influenza tends not to involve it in older kids, but in younger kids and toddlers, the flu can cause simultaneous nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Diarrhea can be a common symptom of the flu in toddlers.

Influenza is the No. 1 cause of vaccine-preventable death in pediatric patients in the United States, but it’s not too late to get the vaccine! Keep in mind that immunity lags about two weeks after the flu shot. Though the flu shot is based on a prediction of the prevalent flu strains for a season and can’t guarantee that the individual won’t get the flu from another flu strain, the severity of symptoms and risk of death are mitigated by having the immune system primed with the flu shot.”

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reported viral pharyngitis, upper respiratory infections, ear infections, strep throat, bronchitis and the request for flu vaccines this week.

The CVS MinuteClinic in Lancaster also reported sore throats.

A sore throat can be seen with allergies, post nasal drip, a cold or upper respiratory virus,” said Family Nurse Practitioner Jessica Myers. “Evaluation by a healthcare provider can determine the proper treatment for symptoms. A strep test may be performed with results in as little as five minutes. At times a send out test is recommended to rule of bacterial causes. Over-the-counter treatments to alleviate throat pain include pain relievers, salt water gargles and lozenges.”

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians are seeing more upper respiratory infections, as well as asthma symptoms starting to pop up.

UPMC Pinnacle in Camp Hill is continuing to see high fever illnesses. Many are causing sore throat and cough and many of these are caused by viruses. Although there is no prescription treatment for most of these illnesses, it is important to call your doctor’s office if your child’s symptoms are not improving after three to five days or if they are having new or worsening symptoms such as ear pain, vomiting, or cough that is interfering with sleep or eating. Many children are getting secondary infections, which are bacterial infections that develop after the original virus. Some examples of secondary infections include ear infections, pneumonia, and sinusitis.

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State Health Medical Group report that upper respiratory infections are croup are going around. They are also seeing patients with the common cold. They say there is not a lot of flu activity there yet.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Dauphin, Perry and York counties reports upper respiratory issues, including cough, sinus congestion and fever, strep throat and viral gastrointestinal issues including vomiting and diarrhea.

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