WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across the Midstate are seeing seasonal allergies and stomach bugs.

This week, the providers of UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove continue to see lots of cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease as well as strep throat.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York continues to diagnose pink eye cases.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports a lot of swimmer’s ear this week. They’re also seeing hand, foot and mouth, insect bites, ongoing strep cases and a small increase in stomach bugs.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about swimmer’s ear:

“The medical term for swimmer’s ear is otitis externa, which is an infection of the ear canal. The most common cause is swimming, where water sits in the warm ear canal, allowing for a perfect environment for bacterial or even fungal infections to grow. The inflammation from the immune system fighting this infection will cause acute bad ear pain in the ear canal. There can sometimes be a thick ear discharge that frequently has a bad odor, though the symptom that diagnoses otitis externa is the pain. More specifically, an infection in the ear canal will result in ear pain that worsens when the ear lobe is touched or pulled.”

Trying to keep the ears dry after swimming is important. External ear pain that persists for more than a couple days should be evaluated by a doctor, as antibiotic or antifungal ear drops may be indicated. Ear discharge should always be evaluated by a doctor.

The difference in pain/symptoms between inner and outer ear infections: Pain from an inner ear infection will possibly improve with different head or body positions, whereas pain from swimmer’s ear will not change. Burping, chewing or sneezing will make the pain of an inner ear infection much worse but will not affect the pain of an outer ear infection. Outer ear infection pain will get much worse when the ear lobe is pulled or moved, or if the child sticks their finger into the ear canal.

“Since the eardrum completely seals off the inner ear from the outer ear canal, swimming cannot cause an inner ear infection. If your child has ear tubes, however, there is a connection through the ear canal, so it’s important to check with your child’s ENT physician about swimming recommendations and use of ear plugs, etc.”