What’s Going Around: COVID-19, strep throat, poison ivy

What's Going Around

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics says COVID-19 cases have persisted.

They are still seeing a lot of other viral illnesses that are testing negative for COVID-19, but causing runny nose and fevers.

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Hand, foot and mouth disease cases are still going strong. They also saw a lot of bug bites and poison ivy

Strep throat cases increased and there were ongoing croup cases.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about strep throat:

“Classic strep tends to be a more severe sore throat with frequent swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck, often with a fever. However, it’s important to know that headaches and belly pain and/or nausea are also classic strep symptoms.

The typical ‘trifecta’ of strep symptoms is headache, sore throat, and belly pain or nausea and often vomiting. Having two of the three symptoms raises our concern for possible strep. Sometimes the two symptoms portrayed are headache and belly pain; thus, you can have strep throat without a sore throat. If your child shows two or three of these symptoms for more than a day or two, it’s worth bringing him or her in for medical evaluation, as the diagnosis of strep is only made with a throat culture.

Sore throat is a significant symptom in not only strep, but also in mono, COVID-19, flu and a variety of viral illnesses. Among those possible diagnoses, strep is the only disease that warrants antibiotics. We do not treat for strep without testing with a swab because the antibiotic that would treat strep could cause bad side effects or bacterial resistance in the context of the other diagnoses. It takes an office visit to put your child’s symptoms together with the physical exam to make an accurate diagnosis.

Dangerous symptoms to watch for that warrant an immediate call to the doctor: difficulty swallowing to the point where your child is drooling because he or she cannot swallow their saliva; severe throat pain only on one side of the throat that causes their voice to become very whispery; sore throat accompanied by distressed breathing or the child’s feeling like they can’t inhale enough air.”

This week UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are seeing sore throats, congestion, and RSV, all caused by viruses. They are seeing a few cases of COVID-19 as well.

In addition to viruses causing sore throats, 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 is very contagious and 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.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across the Midstate are seeing coughs and colds, symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and testing, as well as respiratory infections.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York saw sore throats and poison ivy this week.

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