What’s Going Around: Strep throat, swimmer’s ear, allergies

What's Going Around

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine physicians across Central Pa. are seeing typical summer complaints like rashes, swimmer’s ear, sore throats, seasonal allergies, broken bones, sprains and cuts.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw an increase in strep throat cases among the sore throat cases evaluated.

Coughs have varied between viral causes and allergies. They have continued to see poison ivy and tick bites.

Urinary complaints have increased and split between irritation, sometimes from various swimming environments and wet bathing suits, and formal urinary tract infections.

Rashes on the rise included molluscum and Hand, Foot & Mouth disease.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about sore throats in the summer:

“In the summer, it’s typical to see a rise in Adenovirus, strep throat, mono, and Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Strep, mono, and Adenovirus can all cause sore throat that may have white spots on the tonsils, as well as fever and belly pain.

Adenovirus can also have a component of viral pink eye where the eyes appear red and teary, whereas strep does not typically affect the eyes. Some cases of adenovirus can also cause some congestion and runny nose. As its name suggests, Adenovirus is a virus and therefore has no treatment. It typically resolves in five to seven days.

Strep throat, on the other hand, typically causes a sore throat, belly pain and/or nausea and vomiting, as well as headaches. Strep throat is caused by a bacteria that needs to be treated with an antibiotic. Untreated strep can sometimes cause scarlet fever, which involves a red rash over the torso, groin, and inner arms that is red and feels rough like sandpaper. A throat culture is needed to diagnose strep throat and can only be swabbed at a physycian’s office or urgent care or emergency room.

Mono stands for a virus called mononucleosis, which affects the spleen, lymph nodes, and tonsils while causing a body-wide illness and possibly extreme fatigue. It is spread through secretions and even coughing. You can get it at any age, not just in the teen years. Wshen mono affects the tonsils, they can become red, swollen, and covered in pus. The only way to test for mono is a blood test that is ordered by your child’s doctor.

Another likely cause of sore throat is Hand, Foot, & Mouth, also know as the coxsackie virus. This virus causes blisters that can be found from head to toe. Though the name of the virus implies that the blisters only involve the mouth, hands, and feet, in reality, the blisters typically emerge in skin that sustains friction or frequent use. Thus, while the hands, feet, and mouth often are affected, clothes and diapers also frequently cause the genital area to be affected, as well as the belly and limbs. While present, the blister fluid contains active virus, so a patient with the disease is considered contagious until they are both fever-free and free of any blisters. The lesions become scabby and then heal. The virus will run its course in five to seven days. During this time, hydration is the number one goal. Ice water, popsicles, cold smoothies, and crushed ice are ways of soothing the throat and maintaining hydration.”

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital have been seeing some cases of strep throat and allergies.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York is seeing urinary tract infections, bug bites and poison ivy this week.

The CVS MinuteClinic in Lancaster is seeing swimmer’s ear. They do routintely see an increase in outer ear infections in the summer with high heat and humidity. Symptoms include tenderness, pain, swelling, discharge and muffled hearing. Treatment includes ear drops that contain a steroid and antibiotic to treat infection and reduce swelling and inflammation.

Physical exams are again a top requested service due to backlogs at local primary care offices. Patients may need a work physical, driver’s permit, college entry or required school year physicals.

TB testing demand is high for returning college students in healthcare and education settings.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics in Cumberland County is seeing contact dermatitis, poison ivy, tick bites and swimmer’s ear.

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