WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across the Midstate are seeing stomach bugs, belly pain, seasonal allergies and an increase in anxiety and depression. They say that can be attributed to the end of the school year, as children can lose their social networks and the stability and predictability of a set schedule.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York is seeing poison ivy, allergies and pink eye this week.

UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics is seeing strep throat and viral syndrome this week.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports a lot of seasonal allergies this week. They also saw a small bump in bronchiolitis cases and a sharp increase in pink eye.

They are are still seeing strep, although cases are down from last week. They report ongoing cases of poison ivy and some bug bites.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice:

“Steroids aren’t always the best treatment for rashes.

Poison ivy rash can be quite itchy and uncomfortable, but steroid cream rarely works. The only steroid treatment option is a course of high-dose oral steroids taken over two to three weeks. Short courses of oral steroids for poison ivy actually increase the risk of rebound dermatitis that can be worse than the initial rash.

Since steroids are potentially dangerous, this treatment is reserved only for serious cases of poison ivy that could threaten the airway such as poison ivy rash on the face and facial cavities, involves the genitalia, or covers a significant proportion of the body surface.

The course of oral steroids requires high doses initially, which cause the body to halt its own production of steroids. The treatment must be carefully and slowly tapered down over a couple weeks to allow the body to restart and readjust that internal steroid production. Internal steroids allow our body to handle stresses like disease and injury, so stopping the steroids abruptly or prematurely in the course could cause not only the rebound rash but also leave the body vulnerable to significant infection or injury.

If poison ivy rash is affecting your child, especially if there is a concern for widespread rash, it is best to have the child evaluated to establish whether there is an indication for the high-dose steroid treatment. Cool baths and drying agents like calamine lotion can help provide relief without the help of steroids.

Other skin rashes that could get worse with topical steroid treatment include fungal rashes, like ring worm.

And while topical steroids can be very effective for treating eczema flares and certain forms of dermatitis, it’s important to be aware that steroids can make that skin a bit more susceptible to sunburns. So don’t forget sunscreen coverage in those areas.”