What’s Going Around: Flu, stomach bug numbers still rising

Health

The CVS MinuteClinic in York saw cases of the flu, viral upper respiratory infections and sinus infections.

The CVS MinuteClinic in Lancaster saw the flu, both type A and B this week. Symptoms often begin with sore throat, congestion, cough, fever and body aches. It may seem like the regular cold, but the flu usually produces a faster onset, higher fever, more body aches and fatigue that the typical cold. The urge patients who feel these symptoms to try to get into the clinic within 48 hours when the anti-viral medication for flu is still eligible.

They are also seeing a variety of illnesses that can result after a viral infection like the flu. Some of these illnesses include pneumonia, bronchitis, post-viral cough, or sinusitis. If your cold or flu symptoms seem to be getting worse or not improving within a normal time frame, you’re advised to follow up with a medical evaluation.

WellSpan pediatric medicine physicians across Central Pa. are still seeing a lot of flu cases. There has also been a fair amount of stomach bug and bronchiolitis cases over the past week. They remind patients it is not too late to get a flu shot.

Pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital are continuing to see a lot of patients with the flu. They are also seeing viral respiratory infections and common colds, though the number of those cases are on the decline.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care saw upper respiratory colds, with fever, cough, sore throat and congestion, the flu, strep throat, and a stomach bug with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics saw the flu, stomach viruses with vomiting and diarrhea and viral upper respiratory infections.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics was filled with a lot of illnesses. The flu continues to be prevalent, with both A and B strains found on their diagnostic swabs.

Strep throat increased to almost 40 percent of the sore throat cases seen. They also saw a rise in pneumonia, including walking pneumonia, a type of infection scattered throughout both lungs, and more typical pneumonia, found only in one spot in the lungs.

They are also seeing post-viral ear infections and sinusitis in high frequency. Unfortunately, bronchiolitis in infants and young toddlers isn’t letting up.

There was also a slight increase in the stomach bug.

Dr. Joan Thode answered some of the most common questions about the flu:

“Is there a treatment for the flu?

There are currently two oral antiviral medications and one IV-administered antiviral medication to combat influenza. Both are most effective when given early in the disease course (must be within first 48 hours of symptoms). Treatment is not always indicated, and the medications do not cure the flu. They only slightly slow the virus progression. The medications have side effects that mainly affect the GI tract, frequently causing nausea and vomiting. Treatment is indicated for patients at high risk for serious complications from the flu or with very rapid progression of the disease.

If my child was exposed to the flu, is there a way to prevent infection from developing?

Vaccination continues to be the most protective option. Anti-viral medications can be used as prophylaxis, but this is indicated only for children with risk factors for severe disease and their family members.

Why should I get my child the flu shot if it’s not guaranteed to prevent the flu?

The flu shot is the only vaccine that needs to change every year due to changes in the dominant flu strains. While the vaccine may not be perfect, it can still be lifesaving. It’s important to note that you cannot get the flu from the flu shot because it does not contain an intact virus.”

According to the Pennsylvania Health Department, flu activity in the state is still considered widespread and has been detected in all 67 counties. Nearly 60,000 lab-confirmed cases have been reported with 1,300 hospitalizations and 40 flu-associated deaths statewide this season.

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