What’s Going Around: Stomach bug, sore throats, allergies

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Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Cumberland County reports bug bites, rashes, summer colds and sore throats.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians in Central Pa. are seeing a return of asthma and allergies. The stomach bug also seems to be going around.

The CVS MinuteClinic in Lancaster reported the following this week:

“It is officially back to school time at the Lancaster clinic. We are seeing many physicals for college admissions, new teacher employees/students, and sports. At these visits we review medical history and immunizations. A vaccine may be recommended if not up to date. We would advise all patients to start thinking about flu vaccine heading towards fall and illness season.

We are seeing an increase in Tuberculosis test visits with college classes resuming. Many students studying teaching and healthcare are required to keep an updated test on file for student observation/clinical experiences. The skin test is planted on the first visit and is read at 48-72 hours. There is a nationwide shortage of the solution. Minute Clinic currently has tests in stock. Some insurances cover part of the cost.

We have seen an increase in bites and stings with the hot and humid weather. Most bites can be treated using over the counter anti itch or antibiotic ointments. If the area become more swollen, painful, redness extending, or draining yellow pus we would advise visiting a health care provider to evaluate for infection requiring oral antibiotics. Over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl and Claritin could be used for itching and swelling.”

In York, the MinuteClinic reported pharyngitis, upper respiratory infections and physicals and vaccines.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw an increase in enteroviral infections, which involves a sore throat, often with sores in the back of the mouth, as well as any of the following: fever, congestion, headaches, muscle aches, neck pain, low energy, belly pain, nausea, or diarrhea. This virus typically lasts from three to seven days before the immune system kills off the virus.

They continue to see strep throat at about 25 percent of the sore throat cases seen.

The stomach bug increased sharply this week in all age groups. Croup increased this week in the younger children and toddlers. They have seen some increased viral rashes as well as bacterial skin and nailbed infections.

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

“The formal name of the “GI bug” is gastroenteritis-“itis” (inflammation) of the gastrointestinal tract. This inflammation is caused by any one of a large number of viruses, and it often starts with vomiting and then ends with diarrhea, though the opposite could be the case.

The cells of the intestines are designed to absorb into the bloodstream specific things from the food that passes through (specific cells absorb specific vitamins, sugars, water, protein, etc in a similar way to an assembly line). When the virus causes these cells to become damaged, they cannot absorb the nutrients as well, and the majority of the liquid food from the stomach ends up in the colon as diarrhea.

The vomiting often starts first and then resolves pretty quickly. The diarrhea, however, often lasts longer because the cells of the intestines are significantly damaged by the virus and need to be replaced. This replacement process can a week or more after the virus is gone, especially in younger kids, so the diarrhea often will have a slow improvement over at least a week after the initial virus started.

Because the main thing lost with diarrhea is water, the primary goal for a child with acute gastroenteritis is hydration. Electrolyte solutions like pedialyte can be used for vomiting or diarrhea, keeping in mind that water should be the primary form of rehydration*.

Water is the most ideal hydration in children over 12 months. Babies younger than 12 months still have immature kidneys, so hydration efforts should be coordinated with your child’s doctor.

Children of any age who cannot keep any fluids down due to vomiting and/or are showing signs of dehydration (less urine output, fewer tears, dry mouth, cracked lips) should be evaluated by their doctor for evaluation.”

UPMC Pinnacle in Camp Hill is seeing more swimmers ear this week. This is an infection in the ear canal that is often triggered by water in the ear from swimming. The water allows bacteria to grow and the skin of the ear canal becomes infected causing pain, redness and swelling of the ear canal. Sometimes the pain is only noticeable when you push on the outside of the ear but as the infection worsens you will see swelling of the opening to the ear canal and a white drainage or debris in the canal. If the infection worsens you may even develop a fever or pain down to the jaw.

There are ear drops over the counter that are meant to prevent swimmers ear, but these drops do not treat an infection. If you are having ear pain, swelling, or draining you should see your medical provider as a prescription antibiotic drop could be needed.

Prevention of swimmers ear is keeping the ear canal dry. After swimming, dry the ear out with a towel and there may be benefit from using a few drops of rubbing alcohol or the over the counter drops after every swim to help dry the water out that is left behind.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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