What’s Going Around: Colds, strep throat, respiratory infections, pink eye


UPMC Express Cares are seeing patients with sore throats, upper respiratory infections that are not COVID-related, as well as seasonal allergies.

To treat a sore throat, patients are encouraged to drink warm liquids and gargle with salt water. If your child has a sudden onset of sore throat, pain with swallowing, a fever greater than 101, and swollen lymph nodes, a physician may recommend a strep test. Treatment for an upper respiratory infection is based on whether a doctor suspects it is caused by a bacteria or virus. If the cause is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are used. If the cause is a viral infection, home treatment is recommended, such as getting extra rest and drinking plenty of liquids.

Frequent hand-washing, especially during cold or flu season, can help prevent illness. Children should also try to avoid using their hands to wipe their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital have seen a bit of an uptick in common colds, as well as a few viral respiratory illnesses that are common this time of year.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports viral illnesses, seasonal allergies, sore throats, pink eye and ear infections this week.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about pink eye:

“Conjunctivitis is the general term for inflammation of the outer clear layer of the surface of the eye, or conjunctiva. It typically appears as a ‘pink eye,’ but there are multiple possible causes of this condition.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is frequently in only one eye and typically has thicker eye discharge. It can be painful or have a scratchy sensation when the child blinks. In babies, bacterial pink eye can frequently affect both eyes at the same time and should be evaluated for possible tear duct blockage. Bacterial pink eye is treated with eye drops by your child’s primary-care physician. Until treated, it is very contagious.

Viral conjunctivitis is frequently is seen in both eyes symmetrically. The discharge tends to be a bit thinner and waterier, though kids will frequently have crusting on their lashes after a period of sleep. Viral conjunctivitis is often seen in the second half of a virus and caused by a child rubbing their nose then rubbing their eye, thus transferring the virus to the surface of the eye. The viral conjunctivitis will be killed off by the immune system at the same time it beats the virus elsewhere in the body. Antibiotic eye drops will not speed that process because they do not affect viruses. Unfortunately, viral conjunctivitis is also contagious by touch.

Allergic conjunctivitis is a reaction to pollen or other allergens in the air. This causes the immune cells to release histamine, which makes the eyes red, itchy and watery. Itchy eyes are most likely allergic conjunctivitis. There is rarely thick eye drainage, though it is common for the eyes to tear a lot. Antihistamine eye drops can be prescribed by your child’s primary physician.

Reasons to see the doctor: Thick drainage from the eye; pain with eye movement; eyelid swelling; pain with light/light sensitivity; symptoms that worsen over two to three days; eye redness with any recent eye trauma or suspected foreign body in the eye; changes in vision.”

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics reports rhinovirus, enterovirus, upper respiratory infections and colds, bug bites, wasp and bee stings, allergies, viral sore throats, and anxiety and stress.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians from across Central Pa. are seeing asthma exacerbations, eczema flares, stomach bug, seasonal allergies, strep throat and colds.

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