What’s Going Around: Poison ivy, strep throat, allergies

What's Going Around

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Cumberland County reports a viral stomach bug with (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, rashes as poison ivy has started to pop up, allergies with sinus pressure and drainage, headaches, and itchy, watery eyes.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics said that somehow ear infections and strep throat have continued to be persistent.

They are are seeing a lot of rashes, including impetigo and fungal infections, especially among more than one member of a household. They have seen a couple cases of poison ivy.

Understandably, anxiety is also high throughout the age groups.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about impetigo and rashes.

“Impetigo is an infection of the skin with bacteria in the streptococcal family. It can look like a red rash, often with a crust on top that has a yellow color, frequently described as “dried honey.” The rash technically can occur anywhere on the body, though we often see it on the face, frequently at the corners of the nose and mouth. This rash can be painful, though it frequently doesn’t bother the child at all.

Other breaks in the skin from things such as cuts and scrapes, as well as other rashes such as eczema, also can become infected with this bacteria, which complicates healing.

Any rash that is crusting, does not get better after a week or so, or seems to get progressively redder should be evaluated by a doctor. Impetigo is treated with a topical antibiotic cream and sometimes additional oral antibiotics, depending on the severity of the infection.

Other rashes also can have various forms of crusting, such as fungal infections, psoriasis and eczema, so it’s always a good idea to have any kind of “crusting rash” evaluated.

Any rash around the eyes should be discussed with a doctor immediately. While relatively rare in kids, shingles and herpes viruses around the eye would warrant a specialized evaluation by an ophthalmologist and rapid starting of oral medications.”

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports they are seeing patients for allergies and mono.

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital are seeing a lot of seasonal allergies and some strep throat.

UPMC Express Care locations across Central Pa. are treating allergies and poison ivy this week.

Poison ivy is a three-leaved, vine-like plant that spreads among trees, bushes, and gardens. Many people are allergic to this plant and develop a rash after coming in contact with it. It can take anywhere from one to 14 days to develop the rash. The rash starts as red, itchy skin bumps or blisters or sometimes swollen areas. More areas or blisters develop as time goes on. This is because different contacted areas on the skin may take a little longer to develop the rash. This is NOT because people spread the rash on themselves. A common myth is that poison ivy is contagious. Allergic rashes are never contagious. The only way to develop the rash is to come in contact with the plant or with the plant oils that may have transferred onto clothing or gloves. Treatment of poison ivy can sometimes be controlled with topical, over-the-counter creams and itch relief medications or antihistamines. However, if the rash covers large areas of the body or is on the face or near the eyes, you may need a prescription medication to give quicker relief. Call your medical provider for guidance.

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 call their medical provider to see if it could be the flu, strep throat, or some other infection. Most cases of allergic rhinitis responds well to over-the-counter antihistamines. Ask your doctor or medical provider which antihistamine would be best for your child.

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