What’s Going Around: Flu, strep throat, croup, ear infections

From the flu to strep throat to pink eye, local physicians are reporting a lot of illnesses in area children this week.

Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports viral illnesses such as colds, sore throats due to strep and pharyngitis, viral gastroenteritis, a stomach bug that involves vomiting and diarrhea, croup, a barky cough caused by viruses that cause a swelling of the vocal cords, flu and pink eye.

Dr. Joan Thode said pink eye in kids is typically caused by bacteria or viruses, though it also can be the sign of an allergy or injury. She said you should take your child to a doctor immediately if they experience eyelid swelling or eyelid redness, pain with eye movement, or pain or tearing in the eye when exposed to light. Those could be signs of a worsening infection.

In addition, contact lenses should never be worn during an acute pink eye infection, as the cornea can become damaged.

Pinnacle Health’s Heritage Pediatrics in Camp Hill reports more cases of the flu and strep throat, both of which are very contagious.

Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman said children need to stay out of school for at least one or two days after the fever is completely gone without medication.  Kids with the flu may miss up to a week of school, as coughing could spread influenza to others students.

WellSpan Medical Group providers are still seeing a high number of flu cases in Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. Viral upper respiratory infections are also still prevalent in Lancaster County.

WellSpan Medical Group providers say frequent handwashing is important and remind parents there is still time left to get the flu vaccine.

Summit Health continues to see a lot of patients coming in with coughs at their Shippensburg and Chambersburg Urgent Care locations.

“It can be tough to know when a cough needs medical attention, but if your cough is persistent, if you are experiencing shortness of breath, or you have a fever at the same time – you need to get an expert to take a look or a listen,” Summit providers said.

They also urge parents to remind their children to cover their cough by coughing into their elbows.  That prevents the spread of germs through touch.

Penn State Children’s Hospital continues to report a high number of flu cases as well as viral respiratory infections such as RSV.  Some practice sites, including Penn State Pediatrics, are also reporting a lot of ear infections.

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