What’s Going Around: Strep throat, flu, mono, stomach bug

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UPMC Express Care across Central Pa. Is seeing more influenza cases this week. Patients are starting with high fever, chills, watery eyes, body aches, and fatigue. The fevers are lasting five to seven days. A sore throat, runny nose and cough also develops in the first 24 hours and the cough can worsen over a period of a week or longer.

There is a nasal test for influenza, but during influenza season, you may not be tested for it because the test is not always accurate. If you appear to have influenza, your doctor may decide to treat you with anti-flu medication if it is appropriate. Tamiflu only works if given in the first 48 hours of symptoms and even then it only reduces symptoms for one to two days. Tamiflu has side effects, so it may only be recommended if you are considered high risk, based on age and chronic ailments. The best way to prevent influenza is the flu vaccine. Although it may not work 100 percent of the time, it does reduce the chances of getting the flu and of having dangerous flu complications. Influenza is very contagious and spreads through the air, so if you have flu-like symptoms you should try to avoid being in public and around other people, especially babies and the elderly. Call your doctor to see if you qualify for treatment or if you need to be seen.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Cumberland County reports viral upper respiratory infections, the flu and pink eye.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics in Cumberland County reports viral upper respiratory infections, colds, the flu and a stomach bug.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw a sharp increase in strep throat.

Flu held steady, with an ongoing moderate number of cases. They continue to see high numbers of additional fevers due to viral illnesses and a sharp increase in the stomach bug.

They saw a higher number of mono cases than they’ve seen in a few months.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the follwowing advice about the stomach bug:

“Gastroenteritis typically starts with one to two days of vomiting with or without a fever, then proceeds to diarrhea, which can last up to a week or more. While medications can improve nausea, there is no medicine to cure the virus-the immune system will kill it off within a few days.

Hydration is the most important part of caring for a child with gastroenteritis. Look for saliva and tears as signs of adequate hydration, and monitor for frequency of urination. If your child has ongoing fluid losses via vomiting and diarrhea, has a dry mouth and/or hasn’t urinated in eight to 12 hours, it’s worth a call to the pediatrician. Rehydrate your child with water or a rehydration solution with a relatively one to one ratio of sodium to sugar. Sports drinks like Gatorade are not good options for rehydration, as their sugar load is way higher than their electrolyte volume. This can actually worsen the diarrhea and dehydration. Pedialyte is one rehydration solution that provides a better balance of the needed sugar and electrolytes. There is no need to guzzle; one to three sips every one to three minutes is often a good pace for rehydrating a mildly dehydrated child.

Certain foods can make post-viral diarrhea worse. In general, avoid very fatty and very sugary foods. You don’t have to prevent your child from eating dairy, however! More recently, it’s been found that dairy packs great nutrition that your child needs following a bout of the GI bug.

The BRAT diet, including bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, has been found to lack nutrition and is no longer suggested during the recovery phase. Allow your child to eat normal food and drink milk, and only avoid foods with high fat/grease or sugar content until the loose stools are fully resolved. Probiotics are also helpful with post-gastroenteritis diarrhea and reinstating normal gut bacteria.”

The CVS MinuteClinic in York continues to see flu, viral upper respiratory infections, viral bronchitis, pharyngitis and some bacterial conjunctivitis this week.

The CVS Minute Clinic in Lancaster reported they are still seeing cases of influenza in the clinic. Flu is characterized by sudden onset of fever, body aches, chills, fatigue, cough and congestion. If seen by a healthcare provider within 48 hours of onset of symptoms, they can prescribe an antiviral called Tamiflu which can decrease the duration and severity of the infection. Flu symptoms are typically more severe than the common cold. Ways to decrease spread of flu from person to person include hand washing and covering your cough when sick.

They have also seen an increase in people interested in getting the flu vaccine this week. It is not too late to get vaccinated and protect yourself from the flu.

They’ve also diagnosed sinus infections, which can be viral of bacterial in nature. A viral sinus infection typically lasts less than seven days with sinus congestion, pressure, possibly ear pressure and cough. When sinus pain has lasted longer than 10 days with thick mucus, worsening sinus pain, decreased sense of smell and/or fever we would treat with antibiotics for bacterial infection. For viral cases, over the counter decongestants, nasal saline or Neti-pot, and expectorants can help ease the symptoms.

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