The CVS MinuteClinic in York saw less COVID this week, but more cases of viral bronchitis, strep throat and a stomach bug.

Pediatricians at Penn State Health are seeing a lot of colds, stomach bugs and respiratory infections. They continue to see a handful of flu cases and RSV cases.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports ongoing colds from various viruses. They saw a slight decrease in strep throat and sporadic COVID cases. They are still seeing pink eye and asthma exacerbations.

They also saw a couple cases of whooping cough after multiple cases were reported at a local school. These cases presented for cough after a known exposure and occurred in vaccinated kids.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about whooping cough:

“Whooping cough is no longer frequently seen due to the pertussis vaccine, though our collective immunity locally and nationally is waning due to decreased vaccination rates. Pertussis causes hacking coughing fits where the infected individual coughs so hard that they cough out all of their lung air, then continue coughing silently beyond that, unable to inhale. This situation causes a state of oxygen deprivation, to which the brain responds by sending a huge nerve impulse so the diaphragm strongly contracts. This contraction causes the individual to gasp with a huge, croaky breath; a unique sound called a whoop, hence the common name of the disease.

Unvaccinated individuals will have this coughing and whooping pattern for a couple weeks with additional weakness, followed by several weeks of ongoing, slowly improving cough and weakness. Vaccinated individuals, if they become infected from an exposure, do not typically have the whoop and cough attacks but instead have a milder course, with a cough that doesn’t seem to get better after a couple weeks. The cough is typically dry and sometimes hacking in nature.

The good news is that whooping cough does have an antibiotic treatment, though an unvaccinated person may still have multiple weeks of illness. Pertussis is diagnosed by a specific nasal swab.

The bad news is that, even in vaccinated individuals, immunity to pertussis wanes over time, more so than vaccine-induced immunity for other diseases. This is why boosters are important and have been integrated into the normal vaccine schedule for kids. Pertussis vaccines are given at two months, four months, six months, 18 months, four years and 11 years.

The other bad news is that pertussis can be deadly to babies and immune-compromised people. Pregnant women are encouraged to get a TDaP vaccine with each pregnancy to confer some immunity to their baby, as well as ensure that they have a large number of antibodies to avoid illness that could then be passed to their baby after birth.

If your child has a cough that is not improving after the typical 10-14 days of cough seen with a cold, their physician will consider a pertussis swab, among other tests. An exam at this point is important, as there are other reasons to have a prolonged cough. However, if your child starts coughing after a known exposure to pertussis, they should see their health-care provider for a swab sooner rather than later.”