This week, the providers of UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are seeing a lot of cases of viral stomach bugs.

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are seeing a slight uptick in patients with COVID. They are also seeing some summer colds, stomach bugs and viral respiratory infections.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw a lot of hand, foot and mouth disease this week.

They also saw scattered COVID cases, strep throat, viral illnesses with fevers lasting four to five days and an increase in impetigo rashes.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about hand, foot and mouth:

“Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by one of a handful of viruses, particularly the Coxsackie virus. The rash appears as flat or slightly raised red spots with a small, fluid-filled bubble. It is often accompanied by a fever and decreased appetite and energy for three to seven days.

The rash can be found from head to toe, and often appears in clusters on the palms/fingers, soles/toes, lips and buttocks. Fingernails and toenails may appear abnormal or even fall off weeks later. Don’t worry, they will grow back! When the lesions occur in the mouth, they will cause a very painful sore throat that may cause your child to be unwilling to eat or drink.

There is no cure, and the virus will run its course in five to seven days. During this time, hydration is the number one goal. Ice water, popsicles, cold smoothies and crushed ice are ways of soothing the throat and maintaining hydration. Your child will regain lost calories once feeling better.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is contagious as long as your child has a fever and/or has intact bubbles within the rash. The bubbles on the skin contain active viral particles, which will spread the virus if the bubbles open. Once the rash begins to crust over and the fever improves, the immune system has killed the virus, and it no longer can be spread.

The virus can remain on surfaces for long periods of time. Toy-sharing is a major way of spreading the virus, particularly in day-care and school settings. Disinfecting toys and surfaces is a good way to lower the risk of infection, though frequent hand-washing with soap is the best way to prevent the viral spread.”