What’s Going Around: Hand, foot and mouth “raging” in local daycares

What's Going Around

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports a lot of viruses this week.

Hand, foot and mouth virus is “raging” in the daycare settings, according to Dr. Joan Thode.

They also saw sore throats with various causes, including strep, enterovirus, COVID-19, seasonal allergies, mono, and hand, foot, and mouth disease.

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There was a sharp uptick in gastrointestinal symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea with causes including gastroenteritis, enterovirus, strep, and COVID-19.

Thode offered the following advice about viruses:

“Viruses, which often cause additional nasal congestion and fevers, can invade the tissues of the throat as well as the nasal passages. The immune system response causes tissues to swell slightly, which can cause pain. This pain typically lasts throughout the day and goes away in two to four days.

·A virus or allergies can cause increased production of mucous in the nose, as well as increased postnasal drainage. Combine that with an increase in mouth breathing as a result of nasal congestion, and the tissues of the throat become raw. Drinking water, warm tea or honey will greatly improve a sore throat from postnasal drip much more than it will improve a sore throat from a virus or strep.

Strep throat tends to be a more severe sore throat with frequent swelling of the lymph nodes of the throat. 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.

Dangerous symptoms to watch for that warrant an immediate call to the doctor: difficulty swallowing to the point where your child is drooling because they cannot swallow their saliva; severe throat pain that is only on one side of the throat that causes their voice to become very whispery; sore throat accompanied by distressed breathing or the child’s feeling like they can’t inhale enough air.”

This week UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are still seeing strep throat, RSV, and upper respiratory tract infections due to viral syndrome, as well as hand, foot, and mouth disease.
Symptoms of viral illness may include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and often a fever. If the fever is not easily reduced with over-the-counter fever reducers, or if the fevers go on and off for more than three days, then you should see your doctor or medical provider.  If your child’s cough or symptoms are worsening and they are less playful and eating less, they should also be seen.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease, also known as the coxsackie virus, can start with a fever; sometimes a high fever of up to 105°F for three to five days. Then tiny blisters start to show up, typically around the mouth, on the hands and feet, and in the diaper area. Blisters also develop in the back of the mouth, on the throat and sometimes on the tongue, causing a sore throat. Many children drool and refuse to drink or eat.   
Hand, foot, and mouth virus is very contagious. If you see a rash like this on your child or if they are not drinking well or saying they have a sore throat, call your medical provider. There is no treatment for hand, foot, and mouth, and it will resolve on its own after about seven days. However, your child should not go to school while they have the fever or rash. It is also important to make sure your child is drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated. If you feel they are not, call your doctor’s office for guidance on pain control and signs of dehydration.

Strep throat is also very contagious, and it needs to be treated with an antibiotic. Strep throat typically causes a sudden onset of sore throat, painful swallowing, headache, decreased appetite, and sometimes vomiting. Often there is a fever, and sometimes there is a fine, red rash on the face, chest, and groin as well. If your child has these symptoms, they should be seen by a medical provider.

Pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State Health Medical Group locations in Cumberland County have been seeing a lot of patients with RSV and colds. They also continue to see a high number of patients with COVID-19, as well as some patients with strep throat.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York saw patients this week for COVID-19, viral upper respiratory infections and diarrhea.

WellSpan Health pediatric medicine physicians across the Midstate are seeing lots of croup, non-COVID-19 upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis as well as continued COVID-19 cases.

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