What’s Going Around: Mono, strep throat, lingering cough, hand, foot and mouth

What's Going Around

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital are still seeing a number of patients with viral respiratory infections, stomach bugs and colds. They are also continuing to see flu patients, although there has been a sizeable drop in number of flu cases this week.

WellSpan Pediatric medical practices across Central Pa. are seeing flu, strep throat, hand, foot and mouth disease, and some cases of the stomach bug.

Many kids have been coming in with a post viral cough. This is a cough that can last two weeks or more after a viral illness such as flu. The child is not contagious during this time but the cough can be very bothersome and keeps the child awake at night. There are several things which can make a post-viral cough better, so you are encouraged to consult your child’s physician.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics continued to see a lot of influenza, both A and B.

Strep is on the rise, now at 35 percent of sore throats seen. Mono was seen a lot more in teens and tweens.

Croup increased and infant bronchiolitis remained steady. They also continued to see a lot of fevers, both in the context of flu as well as other non-flu viral colds and illnesses.

Flu season is far from over. Here’s why Dr. Joan Thode says you should still get the flu shot:

“Even if the season’s flu shot isn’t perfectly matched up to the specific circulating flu strains, the flu shot DOES prime your immune system to recognize and fight the virus. Every year, the vast majority of pediatric flu deaths are in kids who did not get the flu shot. Their system was invaded aggressively by the influenza virus, and their immune system had to broadly attack; an attack that involves destroying the body’s own tissues to kill the virus that invades the cells. Organ failure can occur in this context, which can often lead to death or long hospitalizations.

If a vaccinated person gets the flu, the immune system attacks early, and the length and severity of the illness are lessened. This means fewer missed days of school and work. It also means fewer days of being contagious-which is super-important to protecting those around you without strong immune systems or those who can’t be vaccinated, including babies, the elderly, and people on high-dose steroids or chemotherapy treatments.

If you haven’t yet gotten yourself or your children vaccinated against the flu, it’s worth it to get the shot NOW. Babies can get the flu shot after they are six months old. When administered ahead of time, the flu shot is more effective than Tamiflu against an active influenza infection.”

UPMC Express Care reports seeing cases of infectious mononucleosis, also called “mono”. It is common among teenagers and young adults, especially college students.

Typical symptoms include extreme fatigue, fever, sore throat, head and body aches, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, swollen live or spleen and a rash.

Mono is infectious and can spread through bodily fluids, especially saliva, and why it is sometimes known as the “kissing disease.” This virus can also spread through blood and semen during sexual contact, blood transfusions, and organ transplantations.

Most people get better in two to four weeks; however, some people may feel fatigued for several more weeks. Occasionally, the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis can last for six months or longer.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics in Cumberland County is seeing influenza A and B, a stomach virus, strep throat, a mix of viral upper respiratory infections and ear infections.

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