What’s Going Around: Flu, pink eye, viral colds


Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics continued to see a few cases of influenza, with all of the cases being Type A.

They continued to see a high number of viral colds. Bronchiolitis continued to rise in the younger age group, with wet cough and increased effort of breathing as the main symptoms. Strep throat has held steady at around 35 percent of sore throats seen. They saw slightly increased rates of the GI bug.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following reminders about Thanksgiving:

“As families gather and the busy travel holiday is upon us, Roseville reminds families that hand-washing and sanitizer are the best protection against bacteria and viruses. Teaching kids to cover coughs and sneezes in their elbow, not their hand, is important. As families gather, and if a kiss from a family member is welcomed by a child, avoid kissing on the lips and instead kiss on cheeks or the top of the child’s head to avoid the spread of germs. Finally, keep in mind that babies younger than two months have an immature immune system that can’t adequately fight bacterial or viral infections, and should be kept away from sick or unvaccinated family members.

Know your child’s allergies and have an Epi-pen or other medications with you at Thanksgiving dinner. Remind family members ahead of time if a child must avoid a particular food. Also, don’t forget about cross-contamination with double-dipped spoons. If your child has a severe allergy, consider preparing their dinner at home and bringing it for them to eat at the table.

Know who is feeding your child, and beware of choking hazards. Well-meaning family members may not recognize foods as choking hazards. Also, be watchful of toddlers who have access to food at arm’s reach that may cause choking. Nuts and candies are often the biggest culprits. It’s always a good idea to educate yourself about the best maneuvers to dislodge an obstruction to the airway of a choking child, or adult.

The gathering of multiple family members makes Thanksgiving great…and dangerous. Keeping purses on the floor allows crawling and cruising toddlers to investigate and possibly ingest dangerous things. Of concern would be pill bottles, smokeless tobacco, perfume, vaping cartridges and small objects/spare change that can cause poisoning or choking. If toddlers are on the floor, purses should be hung up and out of reach.

Pets also can be an unexpected source of danger. Animals, especially dogs, can become overwhelmed or territorial when there is a large group of people in their space. When children want to play with the dog’s toys or bed, the territorial reaction may include teeth. Similarly, it is very important to keep kids away from a dog who is eating. Surprising or touching a dog who is in a vulnerable position of eating will often lead to instinctual turning and snapping. This can occur with even the most good-natured dogs and can lead to significant facial and soft tissue injuries.

If you can smell the aroma of the turkey and pie, the oven is hot enough to severely burn a child. A crowded kitchen is the perfect place for kids to go unnoticed. Ovens, hot plates, stovetops and knives are sources of annual pediatric injuries. Try to keep young kids out of the kitchen altogether. Also, cook only on back burners, keep the oven door closed until it’s clear no kids are around, and immediately place knives into a contained, safe location after use.”

UPMC Pinnacle in Camp Hill reports they’ve seen a lot of bacterial conjunctivitis, or pink eye.

Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the lining of the eye that causes redness of the inside lining of the eyelids and/or the white part of the eye, giving the appearance of a “pink” eye. Bacterial conjunctivitis also causes a thick discharge that often leads to pasting or crusting of the eyelashes.

This is very contagious and is spread through direct contact. It is easily passed by younger children playing together and through sharing of toys. It is often seen in daycare settings.

The best prevention is hand washing and avoiding rubbing of the eyes. Treatment is with antibiotic eye drops that need to be prescribed.

A red eye or eye with discharge should always be examined by a provider because there are other causes of red eyes, and also they need to make sure there is not an associated infections, such as ear infections.

During this time of year, spring pollen allergies can also cause red eyes, but allergic conjunctivitis is itchy and associated with no discharge or watery eyes.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reported conjunctivitis, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis and sinus infections this week. They are also still administering flu vaccines.

The CVS MinuteClinic in Lancaster reported Rhinosinusitis. Sinus infections can be viral or bacterial. Most are viral and will run their course in 10 to 14 days. Over-the-counter treatments include nasal saline, fluids, rest, decongestants, and nasal steroid sprays. Symptoms include runny nose, congestion, post nasal drip, sinus pain, headache, sore throat and cough. If symptoms are not improving after 10 to 14 days, or are severe with fever, see a provider for an evaluation.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine physicians in Central Pa. are starting to see cases of flu, strep throat, parainfluenza virus, bronchiolitis and asthma exacerbations. They have also had some patients with the stomach flu.

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