What’s Going Around: Fifth disease, seasonal allergies, poison ivy

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians in Lebanon, Lancaster York & Adams Counties are seeing more allergy-related complaints such as allergic rhinitis and asthma issues. Some sinus complaints are increasing as well. They have seen some poison ivy as well already this spring.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw a huge increase in seasonal allergies with the warmup and high winds.

They continued to see high numbers of ear infections and sinusitis. Fevers increased, along with associated rashes, mostly viral rashes and some roseola.

Tick bites, infected mosquito bites and poison ivy continue to rise, with the improved weather and increased outdoor play.

The stomach bug, influenza and sore throats decreased.
 
Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about tick bites:

“Ticks can only transmit Lyme disease if they are attached to a human host for 36 to 48 hours. That is why it is so important to do tick checks and remove ticks quickly. To remove a tick, use sharp tweezers and grip the tick at the base of the head. Lift straight up with a decent amount of force. This can be done at home, but if you are unable to remove the tick or are concerned, your child’s health-care provider can remove the tick.

If an engorged tick is found on your child, contact your provider’s office, as there is now a new protocol with prophylaxis at any age with a dose of doxycycline. Evaluation in the office is important, as an exam and more thorough history will help your child’s pediatrician decide the best prophylaxis vs. treatment protocol to follow.

Another aspect of prevention is bug spray with DEET. There has been a lot of concern but no scientific evidence that DEET affects nerve cells of humans when applied to uncovered skin. Kids sprayed with DEET-containing bug spray during the day should rinse off before bed. Where it can become harmful is if a child drinks it, so it’s important to keep these products out of reach.

Babies younger than two months should not be sprayed with DEET-containing products, as their skin is very absorbent. Beyond two months, these products have been deemed safe. For little babies, bug nets and avoidance are the prevention techniques of choice.”

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State Health Medical Group are still seeing a lot of viral illnesses, including the flu and respiratory infections. Viral illnesses seem to be lasting later into the year than they typically do.

They are also seeing a lot of seasonal allergies and hay fever.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Dauphin, Perry and York counties reports allergies, poison ivy and cold symptoms this week.

The CVS MinuteClinic in Lancaster reported an increase in strep throat in the pediatric population. A rapid test can be performed with results within five minutes. A confirmatory DNA probe is sent if needed with results within 24-48 hours. Bacterial strep throat is treated with antibiotics for 10 days. A child can return to school after 24 hours of therapy and fever free. Supportive care includes gargles, lozenges and pain/fever reducers.

There has been a significant increase in parvovirus, or Fifth disease, in elementary age children this past week. It is rapidly spread because it is contagious before the rash appears. Many children do not exhibit any signs of illness and are attending school during the contagious period. Once the rash appears they are no longer contagious. The rash can worsen with heat and sun exposure. Supportive measures include a cooler bath, a soothing lotion like Aveeno and a topical hydrocortisone if the child experiences itching. A “slapped-cheek” appearance is characteristic. The rash spreads to the trunk, buttocks and limbs one to four days later and lasts one to six weeks. The rash may be itchy. Other symptoms include headache, runny nose, sore throat, and fever. The illness is usually mild and self limited. Peak age is four to 12 years with infections occurring more frequently in late winter to early summer. It is transmitted by the respiratory route. Pregnant women should take precautions against exposure to Fifth Disease particularly in the first trimester to prevent fetal harm.

With the uptick in seasonal allergies the CVS has also seen some pediatric ear infections. It is sometimes preceded by a cold or allergy symptoms prior to the onset of ear pain. Initial treatment of a child older than age two could include fever and pain reducers and watchful waiting. If pain and fever persists, antibiotic therapy can be warranted. Children can attend school when fever free for 24 hours.
 

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