The providers at UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove are seeing strep throat and viral syndrome this week.

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are seeing seasonal allergies, colds and coughs, stomach bugs, bronchitis, RSV, COVID and hand, foot and mouth disease.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York reports strep throat, viral upper respiratory infections and stomach bugs this week. They did see some COVID cases, but those numbers were down.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across the Midstate are seeing strep throat, COVID, non-COVID upper respiratory infections and pneumonia this week.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports ongoing viral illnesses causing fevers. They also saw an increase in strep throat and hand, foot and mouth disease.

They are also seeing a stomach bug and an increase in croup.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about croup:

“Croup is acute inflammation at the level of the vocal cords caused by one of several viruses. The vocal cords operate like scissors, opening fully to allow us to breathe easily. When we speak, they close so that air is pushed between the vocal cords, causing them to vibrate and create the sound of our voice.

With croup, inflammation causes the vocal cord scissors to become locked in a closed or nearly closed position. This causes the child to breathe through a much smaller hole, which can give the sense of not being able to get the air in. This often causes the child to try to take larger and deeper breaths, thus pulling the air faster through the small space and vibrating the vocal cords, creating a voice-like sound called stridor. The cough of croup is also very voice-like and barky because the fast bursts of air of a cough are being pushed between the closed vocal cords, causing them to vibrate. The classic cough of croup sounds like a seal bark.

Croup does not always need to be treated. If the child can remain calm and keep their breathing under control, observation and supportive care during symptoms are all that is needed. But if the croup is severe and the breathing space between the vocal cords is very small, oral steroids or a specific type of inhaled nebulizer treatment is sometimes needed to acutely relieve the inflammation and open the space between the cords.

Interestingly, warm, moist air and cold, dry air can sometimes also relieve some of the inflammation at the vocal cords. We suggest that a child with stridor and croup be taken into a steamy bathroom or have their face positioned at the door of the freezer – or outside on a cold winter night – to help relieve symptoms. While this doesn’t cure the virus, it can help the child relax and potentially avoid the need for steroids.

Croup is most often experienced by kids younger than age six. Older kids tend not to get croup because the diameter of their airway increases as they grow. However, rarely older children can get this condition as well, known as spasmodic croup. It is treated the same way, with supportive care and sometimes steroids.

Croup notoriously worsens at night, so if your child is showing some signs of hoarse voice, barky cough or stridor during the day, it’s recommended to have them evaluated or at least make your pediatrician aware. It’s also important to know what number to call to speak with your child’s doctor after the office closes for the evening.”