What’s Going Around: COVID-19, strep throat, stomach bugs, seasonal allergies

What's Going Around

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports diarrhea, COVID-19, ear infections, non-COVID viruses that are causing fevers and viral rashes, seasonal allergies, sore throats and an increase in strep throat.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following insight:

“Viruses, which often cause additional nasal congestion and fevers, can invade the tissues of the throat, causing swelling and pain. This pain will typically last throughout the day and will go away in two to four days as the immune system gains the upper hand and kills off the virus.

Post-nasal drip is another huge cause of sore throats. When a virus or allergies causes an increased production of mucous in the nose, there is an increase in post-nasal drainage. Combine that with an increase in mouth breathing as a result of nasal congestion, and the throat becomes raw. Even without an active cold, mouth breathing of dry air overnight in the winter months can cause some morning sore throat. Drinking water, warm tea or honey will greatly improve a sore throat from post-nasal drip much more than it will improve a sore throat from a virus or from strep.

Strep throat tends to be a more severe sore throat, with frequent swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck. Often, strep 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 combination of sore throat with either headache or belly symptoms, it’s a good idea to get them to their doctor’s office for testing.

Unfortunately, we have seen a few patients with BOTH strep and COVID at the same time. We have specific swabs for both, but a diagnosis of strep does not preclude a diagnosis of COVID. Only a PCR swab can differentiate and accurately diagnose these two diseases.”

WellSpan pediatric medicine physicians across Central Pa. are seeing acute asthma attacks, bronchiolitis in infants, which includes congestion and mild difficulty breathing, seasonal allergies, viral upper respiratory illnesses and viral stomach bugs.

UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York says spring allergies are starting to appear. Allergic rhinitis causes runny nose, itchy nose and eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, and sometimes an itchy or scratchy throat from the post-nasal drainage. Allergies should never cause a fever and although some children feel a bit tired from their allergy symptoms, they should still be able to go to school and be active through the day.

If your child appears ill, feverish and complaining of a sore throat, is eating less, or has a wet cough, this is not likely allergies, and you should take them to their medical provider. Most cases of allergic rhinitis respond well to over-the-counter antihistamines. Ask your doctor or medical provider which antihistamine would be best for your child.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports testing for COVID-19, testing for COVID-19 antibodies and sore throats.

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