This week, pediatricians at Penn State Health are seeing strep throat, stomach bugs, upper respiratory infections and hand, foot and mouth disease.

This week, the providers of UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are seeing cases of COVID, hand, foot, and mouth disease, and other viruses, such as adenovirus, enterovirus and rhinovirus.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across the Midstate are seeing seasonal allergies, colds and upper respiratory illnesses, rashes and allergic reactions.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports a few COVID cases this week in addition to other viral upper respiratory infections.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports an increaes in Lyme disease this week, with most patients seeing a bullseye rash.

They saw more cases of the stomach bug, with vomiting and diarrhea. There were a moderate number of strep throat cases and a lot of hand, foot and mouth, especially in the toddler age group. They also diagnosed a lot of swimmer’s ear this week.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about bug spray:

“The best way to prevent tick bites is DEET-based bug spray. Though clothing coverage is helpful, ticks crawl very fast and sometimes can get under those protective clothes despite our best efforts.

There has been a lot of concern circulated that DEET (chemical name: diethyltoluamide) within bug sprays could have a negative effect on the nerve cells of kids. There has been no scientific evidence in multiple studies that DEET affects nerve cells of humans when applied to uncovered skin. It can become harmful if a child drinks it, so it’s important to keep these products away from their reach.

DEET works by confusing the scent receptors of mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects, making them unable to detect your skin as a meal option. It does not kill the bugs or alter their consciousness. The percent of DEET within a product, similar to the level of SPF within a sunscreen, will determine its length of effect. Ten percent DEET will provide approximately two hours of insect repelling, whereas 30% will give four to five hours. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests products within that 10-30% DEET range.

Spray bug spray on exposed skin, but to avoid irritating contact to the eyes and potential oral ingestion, don’t spray on the face. Also avoid spraying the palms of the hands in younger kids, since they often put their hands in their mouth and rub their eyes. There is no need to place it directly on skin that is under clothing, but spraying clothing in a particularly buggy environment can be helpful. A fine mist is all that’s needed. A heavier application does not provide more protection.

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 the little babies, bug nets and avoidance are the prevention techniques of choice.

In studies to evaluate and compare efficacy in bug spray ingredients, DEET-containing products showed much more efficacy than non-DEET products. Citronella oil was found to not work well at preventing bites. While lemongrass and eucalyptus oil showed some effect against mosquitoes, they unfortunately did not repel ticks. Lemongrass and eucalyptus oils also have not been studied for safety in children younger than three years old.

High-pitch sound emitters also do not work in deterring biting insects. Wrist bands have not been found to have a large effect in studies.

So the bottom line with bug spray: If your child is over the age of two months, a fine mist of a bug spray with a 10 to 30 percent DEET concentration is safe and suggested. Regardless of product choice, it’s a good idea to bathe the child before bed if any bug repellant was used that day, and daily tick checks should be the norm.”