This week, the providers of UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are seeing hand, foot, and mouth disease, a stomach bug and pink eye.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports COVID, viral upper respiratory infections and poison ivy rashes this week.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports sporadic COVID cases this week. They also diagnosed hand, foot and mouth, swimmer’s ear, inner ear infections and viral colds with fevers. They also treated bug bites and bee stings.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about inner ear infections:

“The inner ears produce fluid as part of their function of hearing. This fluid moves down the inner ear, then drains out tubes at the bottom of the inner ear area into the throat. When a virus causes throat inflammation, the tube swells shut and the fluid builds up in the inner ear cavity, known as an ear effusion. While bacteria can’t grow on the moving fluid within the inner ear, the bacteria can grow on this stagnant fluid. Now we have an ear infection.

The immune system does not tolerate these types of bacterial overgrowths. The pain from an ear infection comes from the combination of extra fluid, extra bacteria, and lots of immune cells taking up a lot of extra space and thus pushing against the eardrum from the inside. The eardrum will bulge as a result of this pressure, and it’s this bulging that stretches the nerve that runs across the surface of the ear, causing it to register pain.

The good news is that the immune system can totally handle the infection and kill off the overgrowth of bacteria. Additionally, as soon as the virus clears, the outflow tubes reopen and drain all of that bacteria-laden fluid from the inner ear. Antibiotics are not needed to clear an ear infection in most cases. They are indicated only in babies younger than 12 months old or in cases where the infection is not clearing in the expected amount of time. The antibiotics do not immediately cure the infection but rather help the immune system clear it a day or two faster than it otherwise would. Our goal as clinicians is to relieve the pain, which is best accomplished with ibuprofen. Please note that ibuprofen can only safely be given to babies over six months of age.”