What’s Going Around: Strep throat, seasonal allergies, swimmer’s ear

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WellSpan pediatric medicine physicians across Central Pa. are seeing several COVID-19 cases, non-COVID viral upper respiratory infections, a lot of sore throats, and a very tough allergy season continues.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York is seeing upper respiratory infections, seasonal allergies and contact dermatitis.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports a sharp uptick in strep throat, though non-strep sore throats, presumed to be viral, have also been on the rise.

They also report and ongoing decrease in COVID-19 cases, although they are still seeing a couple per day. There are still high levels of croup and viral colds.

Seasonall allergies are still high. They continued to see a lot of ear infections and an increase in swimmer’s ear.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about strep throat:

“Both streptococcus bacteria and multiple viral infections can cause a sore throat, as can post-nasal drainage.

Strep throat is often unrelenting; no matter what you do, the soreness remains. Strep throat often is accompanied by headaches and/or belly pain, sometimes with nausea and vomiting, and sometimes with fever. It typically does not come with nasal congestion or runny nose. Strep, though, often does not play by these rules. Sometimes strep throat can present with just a sore throat, and in other cases, it can present with a headache and belly symptoms without a sore throat at all. Strep is important to treat, as untreated strep can have later bad effects on the heart and the kidneys. The testing is a throat swab in a medical office.

Viral sore throats can come in a variety of flavors. Herpangina is a term for a sore throat caused by sores in the mouth. Several viruses can cause this issue, including Coxsackie virus, which causes hand, foot and mouth disease, as well as several forms of enterovirus. This pain, similar to strep, can be unrelenting. Sometimes it is a very sharp pain in the throat, and in younger children, this pain can often make them refuse to swallow, raising the risk of dehydration.

Other viruses can cause inflammation in the walls of the throat, causing pain; and the typical increase in nasal discharge and post-nasal drainage also contributes to a raw feeling in the throat. Post-nasal drainage often creates an irritation in the throat that can be soothed by drinking water or eating honey. Honey is not for infants under 12 months old. Lozenges can be used, but always be wary under the age of five for choking risks with these.

In general, sore throats that are unrelenting or last longer than four days should be evaluated by your child’s physician. Similarly, if your child reports one-sided throat pain, or is refusing to drink fluids due to the pain, they should be seen right away.”

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