This week, pediatricians at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are seeing seasonal allergies, a lot of colds, stomach bugs, bronchitis, RSV, COVID and a few cases of the flu.
The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports viral upper respiratory infections, strep throat and some cases of the flu this week.
WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across the Midstate are seeing respiratory illnesses, including RSV and COVID. They’re also seeing hand, foot and mouth disease.
The providers at UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are continuing to see strep throat. They are also seeing RSV, flu, croup, as well as hand, foot and mouth this week.
Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports continued viral croup cases this week. They’re also seeing increased wheezing from viral infections and asthma exacerbations.
They continued to see sporadic COVID cases, strep throat, sinus and ear infections caused by colds and other viral illnesses and a couple cases of the flu.
Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about the flu:
“Flu shots are in stock, and the time is right to get your child, and yourself, vaccinated for the flu season ahead.
What are the most common complications of an influenza infection?
The most common issue that results from an influenza infection is pneumonia, an infection of the lungs with bacteria that creates a large immune response and can affect breathing and the body’s ability to get sufficient oxygen. In severe cases, pneumonia from influenza can lead to respiratory failure and the need for assisted ventilation. Symptoms to watch for include shortness of breath, worsening wet cough in context of fevers, chest tightness and chest pain.
The heart can be affected, causing a condition called myocarditis wherein the tissues of the heart become inflamed and cause the heart to function less efficiently. Symptoms to watch for include worsening fatigue, chest pain, chest pressure and shortness of breath.
Fevers can cause seizures, and the intense syndrome of throat pain, fatigue and muscle pain can lead to dehydration.
Which specific patient populations are considered at higher risk for flu complications?
Babies less than six months old are at the highest risk for death, as their immune systems are not as strong and they are unable to be vaccinated against the flu until after six months of age.
Young kids less than five years old, particularly kids two years or younger, are at the highest risk for complications requiring hospital admission.
Chronic respiratory disease
Asthmatics are at particular risk for serious pulmonary complications from influenza, as they have a baseline high propensity for inflammation in the lungs.
Conditions causing low muscle tone that make aspiration, entrance of fluid into the lungs, more likely due to inability to cough adequately.
Decreased function of the immune system
HIV, if untreated, immune cells are not made and are therefore in much lower numbers than what is adequate to fight an infection.
The immune system is depressed to prevent the immune system from attacking the fetus.
Medications that suppress the immune system, including high-dose steroids for auto-immune disease, as well as chemotherapy for cancer.
Chronic conditions that affect the function of at least one organ system. This increases the likelihood that influenza will cause organ system failure, since the organs are already functioning at a decreased capacity.
Chronic kidney disease
Sickle cell disease