WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across the Midstate are seeing asthma exacerbations, hand, foot and mouth and viral upper respiratory illnesses.

The providers of UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are continuing to see RSV and COVID this week. They are also seeing cases of the flu.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports COVID and viral upper respiratory infections this week.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics says they officially had a positive flu case week. They also saw a sharp increase in strep throat cases. Enterovirus cases also remain high.

They also saw an increase in COVID cases and two cases of chicken pox this week.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following reminder about the flu:

“Influenza is a group of viruses that causes a syndrome of fevers, chills, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, congestion, cough, headache and sore throat. These symptoms occur due to the virus, as well as the immune system’s response. When there is a body-wide immune attack on flu-invaded cells, tissues and organs can be damaged to the point of not functioning. That is when the flu can become dangerous and deadly.

LG Health’s primary care office and local pharmacies are stocked with flu shots. The flu season was predicted to be earlier this year than typical years — and even sooner than we expected, we are seeing influenza in our office. The time to get your flu shot is now.

Influenza rapidly changes the tiny proteins that adorn its surface. It’s hard to create a flu vaccine that primes the immune system’s memory cells to recognize the surface of the flu, because that surface changes! That’s why, unlike other vaccines, the flu shot is never perfect. BUT that’s also why the makers of the flu vaccine include not only pieces of the predicted surface molecules, but ALSO pieces of the core structure of the flu that doesn’t change.

So the flu will change its outward appearance every season, but by giving your immune cells a taste not only of the predicted hairstyle but also of the core molecule, your immune system will have some familiarity with it. And when memory immune cells recognize something, even partially, they sound the alert and activate the immune system.

The good news is that this year’s anticipated main flu strain, a viral descendent of H1N1, was accurately predicted and included in this year’s flu shot. The immunity from this year’s shot therefore should greatly mitigate illness if an immunized individual was exposed to the virus.

We know that the flu virus moves fast to invade our body’s cells, but when the immune system is primed to recognize pieces of it, the defense process starts sooner. Yes, you may still be unlucky enough to get the flu infection despite getting the shot, but with an armed immune system, you will have a decreased severity of the illness that can be lifesaving.

You can’t get the flu from the flu shot because the intact virus is not in the shot. There are just a few pieces of the influenza structure to give your immune system enough of a taste to learn how to identify it. As with any shot, your immune system will be activated, which uses a lot of energy and may make you feel a bit tired. But your symptoms are not the true flu, and your cells are not being destroyed as they are with the flu.”