What’s Going Around: Stomach bug surges, flu and strep throat persist

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians are reporting continued cases of Influenza A. There are some signs that this may be peaking in children. They are also seeing strep pharyngitis, bronchiolitis, and gastroenteritis.

As always, practice good handwashing or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after eating, before and after using the restroom, and after you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose. If you are sick, stay home and don’t expose others to any germs whenever possible.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw a steady number of influenza cases.

Strep increased to 45 percent of sore throat cases seen this week. Bronchiolitis in infants was seen at a slight decrease, though croup unfortunately increased.

Gastroenteritis had a huge increase, unfortunately, with most cases lasting four to seven days. Pneumonia was seen, though less so than the last couple of weeks.

Viral colds have been the most common diagnosis, as they have been all winter. With these, they have seen a large number of ear infections and many asthma exacerbations.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about strep:

“Strep often does not follow the “rules” of the medical textbook description of symptoms. Classic strep tends to be a more severe sore throat with frequent swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck, often with a fever. However, headaches and belly pain/nausea are also classic strep symptoms.

The typical “trifecta” of strep syndromes is headache, sore throat, and belly pain or nausea (and often vomiting). Having two of the three symptoms raises our concern for possible strep. Sometimes the two symptoms portrayed are headache and belly pain-thus, you can have strep throat without a sore throat! If your child shows two or three of these symptoms for more than a day or two, it’s worth bringing them in for medical evaluation, as the diagnosis of strep is only made with a throat culture.

Sore throat is a significant symptom in not only strep but also in mono, influenza and a large variety of viral illnesses. Strep is the only one of those possible diagnoses that warrants antibiotics (to avoid potential long-term implications for the heart). We do not treat for strep without testing with a swab because the antibiotic that would treat strep could cause bad side effects or bacterial resistance in the context of the other diagnoses. It takes an office visit to put your child’s symptoms together with the physical exam to make an accurate diagnosis.

Dangerous symptoms that warrant an immediate call to the doctor include: difficulty swallowing to the point where your child is drooling because they cannot swallow their saliva; severe throat pain that is only on one side of the throat that causes their voice to become very whispery; or sore throat that is accompanied by distressed breathing or the child’s feeling like they can’t inhale enough air.”

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reported the following this week:
Submitted by: Stacey Basta, Nurse Practitioner

“This week York is seeing flu, strep, viral upper respiratory infections, and viral bronchitis.

We recommend mostly supportive care and medications for cough, fever reduction, fluids/hydration, rest.

At times patients may need inhalers and some with flu may be candidates for antiviral medication.
Flu patients should be out of school/work until fever free without medication for 24 hours. Strep patients should be out until on antibiotic for 24 hours.”

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State Health Medical Group are seeing a lot of upper respiratory infections, strep throat, viral gastroenteritis, and common colds. They’re also seeing some cases of the flu.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics in Cumberland and Dauphin counties reports the flu, strep, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, colds and stomach virus with vomiting and diarrhea.

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Cumberland County reports viral upper respiratory infections, the flu, and a stomach virus with vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

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