What’s Going Around: Tick bites, stomach bug, hand, foot and mouth

What's Going Around

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across Central Pa. are seeing a definite uptick in allergy and asthma flares. They are also seeing some ear infections and also some cases of hand, foot and mouth disease.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Cumberland County is seeing a stomach virus in pediatric patients. They’re also seeking treatment for cuts, scrapes and injuries from outdoor play. Their office has seen some cases of COVID-19, but those patients have all been adults.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics reports seeing rashes and some fevers, but says that social distancing is decreasing overall illness.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics fielded a lot of calls due to ticks being found on kids, as well as one bull’s-eye rash, which is concerning for early Lyme disease.

They have also seen more fevers and viral cold symptoms. Strep throat is also on the rise.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about ticks and Lyme disease:

“Although Lyme disease is seen in higher prevalence in Pennsylvania, the overall risk of contracting Lyme disease after a tick bite is relatively low. Deer ticks can only transmit Lyme disease after becoming engorged, or attached to a human host for 36 to 48 hours. That is why it is so important to do tick checks and remove ticks quickly.

The best way to remove a tick is to use sharp tweezers and grip the tick at the base of the head. Lift straight up with a decent amount of force to remove it from the skin. This can be done at home, but if you are unable to remove the tick or are concerned, you can have the tick removed by your child’s health-care provider.

If an engorged tick is found attached to the skin, take a photo, remove the tick and call your health-care provider, as a single dose of doxycycline can prevent Lyme disease in this initial bite stage. Again, this step is not needed if the tick is removed prior to getting engorged.

While tick checks are important, another aspect of prevention is bug spray with DEET. There has been a lot of concern circulated that DEET (diethyltoluamide) could have a negative effect on the nerve cells of kids. There has been no scientific evidence that DEET affects nerve cells of humans when applied to uncovered skin. It can become harmful if a child drinks it, so it’s important to keep these products away from their reach. Babies younger than two months should not be sprayed with DEET-containing products, as their skin is very absorbent. Bug nets and avoidance are the prevention techniques of choice for very young babies.”

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports a few strep throat cases.

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