What’s Going Around: COVID-19 spikes in kids who recently returned to school

What's Going Around

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, especially in school-age patients and siblings of kids who recently returned to school.

Strep cases have slightly increased. They are still seeing lots of RSV cases in infants and young toddlers. Hand, foot and mouth disease cases are still in high numbers among toddlers.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice:

“As a quick reminder, the presence of nasal mucous can indicate viruses, allergies and/or bacterial infections, but there is no specific characteristic of mucous that helps us come to a specific diagnosis. The color doesn’t indicate anything other than the presence of the immune system. Green vs. yellow means nothing from a clinical perspective. You can have varying colors of mucous with allergies, viruses or bacterial infections. The only way that clinicians can definitively diagnose COVID-19 is via a nasal swab to look for the specific proteins unique to the SARS-COV2 virus.

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Testing is still most accurate two to four days after the start of symptoms, but it’s important to bring a child to medical attention as soon as possible if there are any signs of respiratory distress or increased work of breathing.”

This week UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are seeing an increase in RSV bronchiolitis as well as other viral illnesses. There are more high fevers of 103 degrees or higher combined with minimal cold symptoms and negative COVID-19 tests, as well as illness from stomach viruses.

Bronchiolitis starts as a typical cold the first few days with a lot of nasal congestion and nasal discharge and sometimes a fever. Then, after a few days to a week, the cough becomes deeper and wheezing begins. Wheezing can present as fast, shallow breathing, a whistling sound with breathing, and coughing spells. If your child is showing any of these signs, call your medical provider. Treatment for bronchiolitis is supportive; there is no a medicine that will make it resolve faster. However, younger children and babies can worsen before they improve, sometimes to the point of respiratory distress. So if you think your child is wheezing, be sure to call their provider immediately.

Many children have symptoms of viral illness that start with stomach pain and some loose bowel movements during the first few days followed by nasal congestion, cough, and often a fever. If the fever lasts longer than three consecutive days, it is difficult to reduce with fever reducers, or if your child is not able to eat, drink, and play after the fever is reduced, then it is recommended that they are seen by a provider.

They have also seen some children that have developed ear infections as a secondary infection following the initial viral illness. Often, ear infections do not develop until five to seven days after the initial viral symptoms. Signs of ear infection are trouble sleeping, fussiness, ear pain, prolonged fever of more than three days, or a new fever after the fever had already resolved for a couple of days. If your child develops any of these symptoms, they should definitely be seen by their provider.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports colds, community acquired pneumonia and rashes.

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and Penn State Health Medical Group locations in Cumberland County are seeing COVID-19, RSV, common colds, hand, foot and mouth disease and herpangina, a viral illnesses that causes sores in the mouth.

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