What’s Going Around: Back-to-school bugs, flu-like illness

UPMC Pinnacle’s Heritage Pediatrics in Camp Hill reports they are seeing viral upper respiratory infections, or “summer colds.”
The most common symptom is nasal congestion. Some people also have a low grade fever the first few days and sore throat. A cough develops from the post nasal drainage.
Antibiotics are not going to treat viral upper respiratory infections, so your provider may recommend supportive care such as nasal saline, humidifier, a lot of fluids and rest. There are some over the counter cold medications that may reduce some symptoms.
If you have a fever or sore throat  longer than three days, or if your cough is worsening and causing trouble breathing, you should see your doctor or provider.
Students headed back to the classrooms in Franklin County last week, and this week, Summit Health providers say kids are already coming down with back-to-school bugs.
Providers at Summit Health’s urgent care facilities in Cumberland and Franklin County note the stomach bug and strep throat are going around.
The most important thing is for parents to be aware of their children’s symptoms and to know when to keep them out of class and when they need to see a physician.
Three quick questions can help you make the best decision:
Are they running a temperature? If your child has fever, that’s a sign they are fighting a bacterial or viral infection. This is usually a good indicator they need to stay home.
How are they acting?  If your child seems sleepy, drowsy, achy, or nauseated, they probably won’t be able to absorb learning material or focus in class. A day or two of rest can go a long way and help them feel energized enough to participate in class.
Are they contagious? You don’t want your child to be the reason the entire class comes down with the flu. If you think your child may be contagious, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Consider keeping them home until their symptoms improve. If you’re unsure, you can check with your doctor.
Summit Health has set up resources for parents that can be found here to know when a student can power through or when they really need to stay home and rest.
As always – the beginning of the school year is a good time for parents to remind their children about the importance of handwashing.  Summit Health also suggests packing hand sanitizer with their lunch box, to give your child a little extra germ-busting power before they handle food.
The York CVS MinuteClinic reported the following this week:
Submitted by: Stacey Basta, Nurse Practitioner, MinuteClinic in York
This week is the last week before most kids in the York area return to school. It’s been a busy week with TB screenings, physicals, and school required vaccinations.
We’ve seen a few cases of contact dermatitis (poison ivy), and a few sore throats and viral infections.
Oral steroids can be used to treat bad cases of contact dermatitis and over-the-counter medications for symptom management. Other cases of contact dermatitis are manageable by topical steroids and again, over-the-counter medications for symptom management. Viral upper respiratory infections and sore throats are treated with over-the-counter medications to help with pain and fever. Be sure to also push fluids and rest.
This week, WellSpan Medical Group providers are seeing cases of a flu-like illness, with symptoms that may include body aches, coughing, congestion and runny nose, in addition to a viral gastrointestinal illness.
For the flu-like illness, techniques such as coughing into the inside of your elbow, frequent handwashing with antibacterial soaps for 20 to 30 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, such as Purell, are recommended to help prevent the spread of illness in public and at home.
Frequent handwashing is also recommended for viral gastrointestinal illness prevention, especially following bathroom use. It is also recommended that sick individuals stay home from work or school, to prevent spreading the illness to others. Those affected should also stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. If symptoms do not improve after two days, WellSpan Medical Group providers recommend seeking medical care.
This past week, providers at Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State Health Medical Group – Camp Hill have seen a number of Lyme disease cases. Remember to wear long sleeves and long pants to help prevent tick bites, and check for ticks when coming back inside.
Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics in Dauphin and Cumberland counties reports hand foot and mouth disease, enterovirus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and bronchiolitis.
This week at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics, they have seen a lot of hand, foot and mouth virus. They have seen a lot of this virus in the last month, but say it seems like it continues to increase, particularly this week.
They also saw an increase in strep and a continued increase in gastroenteritis.  In addition, they have been seeing adenovirus, which can cause both eyes to appear red, some stomach upset, as well as cold symptoms.
Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about hand, foot and mouth virus:
“It’s a misnomer-the lesions of this virus can and do occur anywhere from head to toe, not just on the hands/feet/mouth. It tends to concentrate in areas of increased friction, which often include the hands, feet, lips and buttocks.
Lesions often start as small, red bumps, then can progress into bubble-appearing lesions.
In kids, the lesions do not typically hurt unless they occur in the mouth or throat. This causes a severe sore throat that can make the child less likely to want to eat. In this situation, it’s most important to maintain the child’s hydration. Skin lesions on the hands and feet of teens and adults are acutely painful.
Kids are contagious a few days prior to the lesions developing and until they are fever-free for 24 hours. The lesions that are bubbled also contain virus within the fluid and can be spread.
A virus causes this condition, so it typically lasts three to seven days. As with any virus, it’s important to maintain hydration, offer comfort measures, and call the doctor for evaluation if the fever lasts five consecutive days.”

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