What’s Going Around: colds, allergies, poison ivy, and sprains

Here’s a look at what’s going around the Midstate this week:

Pediatricians from Penn State Children’s Hospital are still seeing a number of viral upper respiratory illnesses, including rhinovirus (the common cold). Some of its practices are also seeing a few cases of hand, foot and mouth disease – caused by coxsackievirus – which causes a painful rash on those parts of the body.

Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics has continued to see a fair amount of viral colds, as well as continued allergy symptoms. They’re also seeing a lot of pink eye and now more itchy skin from poison ivy and insect bites.

Here are some important tips on bug spray from Joan Thode, M.D., FAAP, LG Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics.
· When choosing a bug spray for your kids, it’s advised to use a DEET-based product. DEET has been safety-tested above the age of 2 months old.
· The concentration of DEET in your bug spray should be between 10 and 30 percent. Apply to exposed skin in a light mist and rinse off before bed.
· The bug sprays that are considered more “natural,” with lemon grass, eucalyptus oil and citronella are actually not safety-tested below the age of 3 years and therefore are not recommended.
· Babies younger than 2 months of age should not use any form of bug spray and should be protected by mosquito netting or limited exposure.

Medical experts at Summit urgent cares and walk-in clinics in Franklin and Cumberland counties continue to see a variety of upper respiratory ailments and have noticed upticks in contact dermatitis and musculoskeletal issues.

With better weather, people are becoming more active and getting outside. Providers are seeing an increase in sprains, strains, and even some breaks in people of all ages.

For strains or sprains, rest the area and elevate it, if possible, above the heart. Use ice periodically and wrap the area with an Ace bandage if needed. An over-the-counter NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation.

If you have concerns or suspect a break, you should be seen by a provider.

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are all common culprits behind contact dermatitis – an itchy, irritating rash. Contact dermatitis is not contagious and can most often be treated the same, regardless of which plant caused it – at home with over-the-counter steroid creams and an antihistamine. If the rash spreads or is located on the face, it’s best to be seen by a provider, who can prescribe an oral steroid.

Pinnacle Health is seeing a surge in strep throats this week.

Strep throat typically starts suddenly with fever, achy muscles, fatigue, headache and then a very sore throat. Some also complain of belly pain or vomiting. Most children lose their appetite.

It is very contagious and spreads easily through the saliva – typically from sharing food or drink or sometimes if the strep from the mouth gets on other surfaces that are shared (sports equipment, countertops, grocery carts). Therefore it is very important to always wash your hands before eating food so you don’t transfer the strep germs into your own mouth. And as mentioned above, never share someone else’s food or drink, even if they don’t appear ill. Often the bacteria spreads day(s) before their symptoms show.

Strep is diagnosed through a throat swab test done at the doctor’s office. It is not accurate to diagnose only by looking at the throat because other causes can look similar but require different treatment.

WellSpan Medical Group providers are still seeing a rise in grass allergies in Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties, due to the wet weather. However, they are now seeing a decrease in the number of viral upper respiratory infections in Lancaster and York counties.

With summer near and more people taking to the outdoors, providers would like to remind families that it is also tick season. They recommend using repellent, staying covered while in wooded or grassy areas and performing “tick checks” after going outdoors. WellSpan providers would also like to remind parents of the recent state immunization changes for school-age children, which go into effect this summer. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact their school district for details.

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