What’s Going Around: Head lice, walking pneumonia, strep throat


UPMC Express Care has recently seen patients with cases of head lice.

“Students are attending in person school and some families may be letting their guard down and not social distancing as they should be,” according to Dr. Christopher Scheid, regional medical director UPMC Express Care.

Over-the-counter medicated treatments are typically the first line of defense. It’s important to follow the directions exactly as these products use harsh chemicals and applying too much or too frequently can cause harm. Pediatricians also offer prescriptions to combat lice.

Whatever treatment you chose, make sure a nit comb is a part of the process to rake out all the lice and nits. Work the comb from the scalp all the way through the hair, moving bit by bit across your child’s head. You’ll want to work in sections to ensure you get them all.

Once the hair and scalp are treated, it’s critical to move onto stuffed animals, bedding, towels, carpets and furniture. Heat is the key here. Washing items in hot water doesn’t do the trick – it’s the 30 minutes or more of high heat that kill the bugs and eggs.

Many rumors surround this condition and it’s important to verify fact versus fiction to prevent the spread of lice and its stigma.

Head lice don’t have anything to do with personal hygiene or household cleanliness.
Lice don’t fly or jump.
Lice don’t carry disease or infections.
Pets cannot transmit or get lice from humans.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians from across Central Pa. are seeing asthma exacerbations, seasonal allergies, strep throat and colds.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports that strep throat increased this week. They also saw multiple cases of walking pneumonia and an increase in croup and other viral illnesses. They also report ongoing issues with seasonal allergies.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about atypical pneumonia:

“The word “atypical” would make us think this pneumonia is abnormal in some way, but it’s actually called that because the type of bacteria that cause it are in a class of bacteria termed “atypical.”

This pneumonia garnered the nickname “walking” pneumonia because people tend to not have high fevers, or frequently, people don’t develop fevers at all, and walk around their daily lives without major symptoms. In other cases, however, patients may experience fatigue, chest pain, and/or chest tightness and breathlessness. In either case, a persistent cough occurs, and this cough typically sounds “wet” and mucousy rather than dry.

The treatment is a specific antibiotic. Unfortunately, the symptoms overlap many of the symptoms seen with COVID-19, so it’s important to be evaluated by your doctor and get a COVID test to ensure appropriate quarantine precautions if warranted. “

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