What’s Going Around: COVID-19, common colds, strep throat, diarrhea


Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports ongoing cases of COVID-19.

They’re also reporting viral colds, diarrhea, croup, ear infections and strep throat.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about diarrhea:

“Diarrhea can be caused by various issues, some of which are infectious.

-A virus affecting the GI tract

-Immune system activity fighting another virus, a cold for example, or swallowed mucous from post-nasal drainage. This is frequently the case with toddlers and infants with cold symptoms.

-More rarely, a result of food poisoning or bacteria introduced by undercooked eggs or meat. These cases may cause bloody diarrhea.

-Drinking water while traveling out of the country or from fresh water streams can introduce parasites into the gut. These cases should be evaluated by a doctor for appropriate testing.

-Many additional causes are not infectious, including inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety, disrupted absorption of nutrients and medications.

Stool color can vary greatly based on the color of foods, especially dyes in foods or sweetened beverages. As long as a stool is not black and sticky like tar, or showing bright red blood, a wide range of browns, greens and yellows is within the realm of normal. Any bloody stool should be evaluated by a physician right away.

Most infectious diarrheal causes are spread by contaminated hands introducing the virus or bacteria to the mouth. A person with diarrhea must focus on consistent hand washing with soap. Hand sanitizer is not as ideal in this case. Other household members also should increase the frequency of hand washing. Disinfecting toilet seats, flusher handles and faucet knobs is imperative to limit household spread.”

Penn State Children’s Hospital reports seeing some COVID-19 patients this week. They’re also reporting common colds and upper respiratory viruses.

Penn State Health Medical Group locations in Cumberland County have been seeing strep throat, common colds, allergies and anxiety.

Providers remind everyone to continue with CDC recommended public health guidelines including masking, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and please consider virtual or alternate holiday plans rather than a big gathering with people outside of your household.

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