What’s Going Around: Strep throat with some unexpected symptoms

This week, several providers are issuing warnings about strep throat, and say the symptoms may not be what parents expect.

Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports a steady number of strep cases.  They said it doesn’t necessarily always present with throat pain; often it can manifest as belly pain, with or without nausea, and a headache.  Dr. Joan Thode said the combination of headache and vomiting should always be evaluated by a physician.

Roseville also reported viral colds and pink eye, both viral and bacterial.

“Bacterial pink eye tends to affect one eye, whereas viral pink eye often is in both eyes and starts a couple of days after cold symptoms start,” Thode said. “The eyes can look red and have crusting or mucous. While viral pink eye is contagious, antibiotic drops will not help. The pink eye will resolve as cold symptoms resolve, typically after two to three days.”

Penn State Children’s Hospital pediatricians also report several cases of strep throat.  They are also seeing a very high number of children with seasonal allergies.

Providers at Summit urgent cares and walk-in clinics in Franklin and Cumberland counties also report strep throat as a big problem this week. They warn that the “white spots” that are often visible in the back of the throat are not present with this particular strain of strep, so parents are encouraged to have their children evaluated.

Symptoms of strep include fever, lack of cough, throat pain and swelling and swollen lymph nodes.

Summit providers also report allergic conjunctivitis and a stomach bug, which lasts about five to seven days.  Symptoms include stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and dizziness.

PinnacleHealth’s Heritage Pediatrics in Camp Hill reports a lot of parents coming to them with concerns about tick bites.

Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman said parents should educate themselves about the signs of Lyme disease, including a bullseye rash, swollen joints, unexplained fevers or unexplained joint pains and headaches.

“If these signs are noted, make an appointment with your doctor or provider,” Zimmerman said. “Many parents ask if their child should get antibiotics if they find a tick on their child.  In general, antibiotics are not recommended to treat a tick bite unless signs of Lyme disease are present.  However, some doctors will prescribe an antibiotic in areas of high Lyme incidence if certain specific criteria are met that indicate a higher chance of Lyme transmission – these guidelines are very specific and can be found on the Center for Disease Control Website.”

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