What’s Going Around: Stomach bug, common cold

UPMC Pinnacle’s Heritage Pediatrics is seeing seasonal allergies, common colds and still seeing gastrointestinal viruses, or stomach bugs, going around.

Most of these bugs are starting with loss of appetite then frequent vomiting for the first one to three days.  There has been diarrhea associated with this as well. The stomach pain and loss of appetite can last on and off for up to a week.

It is important to rest the stomach after vomiting for at least 30 minutes and only take small sips of fluid, one to two tablespoons,  every five to 10 minutes. Clear fluids like Pedialyte are the best.   If the abdominal pain is severe or if your child cannot keep sips of fluids down or if they are urinating less than usual, then they should be evaluated by their doctor or medical provider as soon as possible.  Providers at Heritage do not recommend over the counter anti-diarrhea medicine because this could make the virus stay in the system longer.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine in York and Lancaster counties are seeing a lot of strep throat, gastroenteritis, asthma, and allergies. There has been little to no flu in the past two weeks.

The problems they are seeing with asthma are most likely caused by seasonal allergies to pollen. The pollen can be seen as the fine yellow dust that is coating everything outside such as cars, tables, and chairs. Make sure that if you get pollen on your hands, wash it off before touching your face or eyes. This can help some.  You can also take an allergy pill or liquid such as loratadine before going outside to help control some of the allergy symptoms. Loratadine is safe starting at age 2 and up and is over-the-counter. Consult the package for the correct dosing based on age.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics continued to see high numbers of allergies, ear infections and sinusitis cases.

They saw a shift in fevers from influenza to viruses causing three to six days of fevers.  There was only one case of the flu diagnosed this week.

The stomach bug and croup increased this week.

Providers at Roseville saw a persistence of molluscum and an increase in impetigo.

Sore throats dropped overall and strep comprised about 35 percent of the sore throat cases seen.
They have not yet seen measles in their office and the Department of Health is not aware of any cases in Lancaster. However, what’s understandably going around is a lot of questions regarding measles and what can be done to recognize and protect children from the disease.
Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about measles:

“Measles typically starts with a high fever, 103-105 degrees, cough, impressive pink eye, runny nose and low energy. The rash typically does not show up until about 14 days following the initial exposure. Unfortunately, by the time the rash appears, the infected person has already been spreading the virus for four days and will continue to be contagious for an additional four days.

Measles is highly contagious. The particles of measles virus, when coughed into the air, can hang in the air for two hours. Nine out of 10 susceptible people will contract the virus when exposed to the infected air in the vicinity of the infected person, even if they are no longer physically present in that location
Thirty percent of measles-infected individuals will have serious complications, including pneumonia, diarrhea, bronchitis, severe otitis media, blindness and encephalitis, or swelling and damage of the brain.

Measles is preventable with the measles vaccine, which is known as the MMR and also includes mumps and rubella. The first dose, typically given at 12 months, provides 93 percent immunity. The second dose, typically scheduled at age four, increases immunity against measles to 97 percent. The MMR vaccine can be safely given to babies older than six months of age. This vaccine won’t “count” toward the two doses they will need to get after the age of one year, but if measles comes to the area, it’s worth it to protect babies as much as possible.

If your child is exhibiting signs of measles or has been exposed, please call your pediatrician’s office first, but do not arrive and sit in their waiting room. Due to the highly infectious nature of measles, limiting the spread to others is critical. Pediatric offices will likely have a measles plan that involves a doctor coming to your car to evaluate the child or bringing the child through a different door to the clinic to avoid exposing an entire waiting room full of potentially susceptible people.”

The CVS MinuteClinic in Lancaster reports the following this week:

“Poison Ivy, or allergic dermatitis due to plant contact – With warm weather and yard cleanup we have seen increases in skin rash visits. Poison ivy is caused by contact with the oils of the plant. Poison is not contagious and only spreads where the oil has come in contact. Use a gentle soap like Dove sensitive bar, Aveeno oatmeal bath or lotion and topical hydrocortisones for mild cases. Widespread reaction and facial involvement typically require oral therapy from a health care provider.
Tick bites – Along with the poison as mentioned, warm weather and outdoor exposure increases tick bite visits. Many patients present with a tick attached for removal. Ticks cannot transmit Lyme disease if removed promptly. It is important to remove a tick carefully to prevent retained parts in the skin. We do not send ticks for testing. Ticks are placed in alcohol and disposed of. Oral antibiotic therapy is indicated if the tick was attached for several days or unknown amount of time. If a rash, fever or illness occurs within 30 days of tick bite it is important to follow up.
Pharyngitis or sore throat – We have seen many patients with sore throat. Strep throat is a bacterial infection warranting antibiotic therapy. If fever, severe sore throat, headache and lack of other cold symptoms is present a rapid strep test would be recommended. Some sore throats are viral and improve with rest, fluids, ibuprofen, hot teas. Strep has been prevalent in the school-age population. Allergies and viruses can cause a sore throat and a visit to a health care provider can assist in determining the cause and proper treatment.”

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports upper respiratory infections, allergies, and preventative vaccines; a few for MMR boosters and Tdap.
The pediatricians of Penn State Children’s Hospital report a high number of viral upper respiratory illnesses as well as rhinovirus, the cause of the common cold.

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