What’s Going Around: Hand, foot and mouth, roseola and swimmer’s ear


Hand, foot and mouth disease is starting to plague children across the Midstate.

Medical experts at Summit urgent cares and walk-in clinics in Franklin and Cumberland counties report seeing a recent increase in hand, foot, and mouth disease cases.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is most common in children who are two months to five years of age. A rash is usually found on the hands and feet or in and around the mouth. However, the rash does not have to be located on all areas to be a case of hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Other symptoms include fever, irritability, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.

It is only contagious to those who have not yet had it.

Summit Health providers recommend medical evaluation to determine the cause of any rash or skin irritation. Hand, foot, and mouth disease is viral, so, antibiotics aren’t necessary and won’t help you or your child get better any faster. Symptoms can be alleviated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It’s also important to practice good handwashing and keep the rashes clean.

Hand, foot and mouth is also a concern at Camp Hill’s Heritage Pediatrics in Camp Hill.

Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman said the virus typically causes fever and fussiness and ulcers in the back of the mouth.

“It can also cause tiny blisters on the palms of hands and soles of feet, thus the name hand, foot, mouth disease,” she said. “However there are different strains of coxsackie virus and some children do not get the blisters. The blisters can also show up in the diaper area. Some of the blisters are so tiny they can look like red dots or bumps.”

Zimmerman said the virus is very contagious and can shed in the saliva and in the stool. Toddlers spread this virus the most often because they put their hands in their mouths often, she said.

She recommends pain and fever control with over-the-counter medication. She also says to make sure your child drinks enough fluids, as children with the virus have very sore throats and often refuse to eat or drink.

Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics has seen both inner and outer ear infections. Outer ear infections are commonly known as “swimmer’s ear.”

They have also seen pink eye and viral illnesses, including roseola.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice on roseola:

“Roseola mainly affects toddlers and follows a specific course of high fevers, typically in the 102-103 range, for two to three days, with abrupt improvement of the fevers, after which a fine rash that is pink and looks like lace spreads over the belly and back, sometimes up to the face and down over the buttocks and to the legs and arms.

The good news is that once the rash occurs, the child is no longer contagious and can play and interact with playmates without issue.

Roseola is generally more frequent in the warmer months.

Roseola is a virus, so there are no medications that will make it go away faster, though it is generally a quickly-resolving illness.

Though fevers frequently make kids a bit tired and lackadaisical, the child should be alert and able to talk and respond to you, even if they just want to lie around. Any child with a fever who you can’t wake up or doesn’t respond to you should be evaluated by a doctor promptly.

WellSpan Medical Group providers are seeing a rise in grass allergies and viral upper respiratory infections across Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

With the Fourth of July holiday near, WellSpan Medical Group providers are also highlighting the importance of fireworks safety. Consumer fireworks can cause serious physical harm if mishandled or not used responsibly. In addition to obeying local laws, people are advised to read cautionary labels, have adults supervise fireworks activities, avoid experimenting with homemade fireworks and have a fire extinguisher nearby.

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