What’s Going Around: Respiratory illnesses, uptick in COVID-19, strep throat

What's Going Around

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics has seen a lot of respiratory illnesses this week.

Wintertime respiratory illnesses are being seen in uncharacteristically high numbers this summer. They continue to see RSV and bronchiolitis on the rise in infants and toddlers, and a lot of colds and viral illnesses in older kids.

They are also starting to see a few more COVID-19 cases this week.

Swimmer’s ear and inner ear infections continue to be seen.

Dr. Joan Thode offers the following advice about bronchiolitis:

“Bronchiolitis is a virus-induced inflammation of the tiniest of the airways that typically affects babies and toddlers. The issue with bronchiolitis is that the small airways can swell shut/fill with mucous, which prevents oxygen from getting to the air sacs at the end. The air sacs are where oxygen is transferred to the blood, so if the air can’t get there, the body will have an oxygen deficit, which causes symptoms.

The lungs have millions of these air sacs, so most babies will be able to compensate by using the ones that aren’t swollen shut. All babies with bronchiolitis will have a wet-sounding cough, but signs to watch for that indicate a more serious issue with breathing include sustained fast breathing, using the belly to breathe, an exaggerated expansion of the ribcage with every breath, called retractions, inability to eat or drink due to the fast breathing, and any purple or blue color around the mouth or lips. It’s always important to have your child examined by their doctor for any concerns with breathing.

Bronchiolitis follows a very typical course: It gets worse over the first four days, then starts to improve. The wet cough lasts during that time and then for about one to two weeks afterward.

There is unfortunately no treatment to make bronchiolitis go away faster. The only treatment, if needed, is to provide oxygen to the baby to help maximize the use of the air sacs that are still open. Our best advice is to trust your gut as a parent that your child’s breathing isn’t quite right and bring them to medical attention sooner rather than later.”

UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove says providers continue to see patients with viruses that cause sore throat and high fevers. They are also starting to see more cases of strep throat.

Strep throat typically causes a sudden onset of sore throat, painful swallowing, headache, decreased appetite, and sometimes vomiting. Often there is a fever and sometimes there is a fine, red rash on the face, chest, and groin as well. Usually, there are not cold symptoms like cough or runny nose, although the nose can feel congested. Strep throat needs to be treated with an antibiotic. So if your child has these symptoms, they should be seen by a medical provider.

There are many viruses that mimic strep throat, and the only way to know is to have a throat swab performed in the office – some tests give immediate results and some take a couple of days at a lab. We recommend that children stay out of school and activities for at least one or two days after the fever is completely gone. If the fever goes away with fever reducer medicine, that does not mean that the infection is gone. It is important for parents to make sure that the fever is gone for over 24 hours without any medicine.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York saw cases of swimmer’s ear, sinusitis and viral upper respiratory infections.

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