What’s Going Around: Nasty intestinal bug, severe sun exposure

PinnacleHealth’s Heritage Pediatrics in Camp Hill reports an intestinal virus with severe diarrhea that lasts for at least five to seven days.

The virus often starts with nausea and vomiting for the first one or two days. Some children have had to go to the hospital for IV fluids because the diarrhea is so frequent. The best course of treatment is hydrations.

“Pedialyte solution available over the counter is the safest drink for diarrhea,” Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman said. “It is safer than water because it has salts in it to replenish the body’s electrolytes lost in the diarrhea. Sugary drinks can increase diarrhea so juice is not the best either.”

Zimmerman said if your child urinates less than every 6 hours or if he or she appears very tired or is refusing to drink, then they may need to go to the hospital or be seen by a physician.

The pediatricians of Penn State Children’s Hospital say they continue to see cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in their clinics. They’re also seeing skin-related conditions, including poison ivy and skin infections from infected bug bites, skin abrasions and lacerations.

Medical experts at Summit urgent cares and walk-in clinics in Franklin and Cumberland counties report seeing patients with sunburns, rashes, and tick bites.

Providers advise everyone to use and reapply often a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when spending time outside. Parents are advised to limit exposure to the sun during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. When possible, cover up with protective clothing, including a wide-brim hat to protect the face, head, ears, and neck.

If you or your child gets an extreme sunburn, take a cool shower or bath and apply cool compresses to the affected area. Aloe gels and moisturizers can be used for relief, and ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to help manage pain.

Summit Health providers advise seeking medical attention if the sunburn blisters or if you experience facial swelling, fever and chills, headaches or upset stomach since these can be signs of dehydration.

Poison ivy, oak, and sumac can all cause an itchy, irritating rash that is not contagious. These rashes can often be treated at home with over-the-counter steroid creams and an antihistamine. If the rash spreads or is on the face, it’s best to be seen by a provider since they can prescribe an oral steroid.

“Before going outside, it’s important to use an EPA-registered bug spray containing DEET to help protect against bites from ticks and other insects,” Summit providers said. “It’s also important to check skin after outdoor activities, especially if you or your little one has been in grassy or wooded areas. You can also help protect yourself by tucking shirts into pants and pants into socks, and by wearing close-toed shoes. If you or your child develops a rash or flu-like symptoms, or you have any other concerns, you should contact your provider.”

Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics continues to see swimmer’s ear, as well as inner ear infections and viral illnesses causing a few days of fevers.

They have also seen injuries including broken bones and lacerations from active play and a couple dog bites.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice when it comes to kids and dogs:

“It’s important to always have your guard up about dogs, even the most good-natured dogs. Teach your kids from an early age that they should never approach a dog that they don’t know without first asking you AND the dog’s owner, even if that dog is on a leash.

Dog bites frequently occur with the family dog, so it’s important to teach kids to recognize when the dog may be giving warning signs of being annoyed, such as growling, ears back or avoidant behavior.

Be very watchful of toddlers who are on the move. They can frustrate dogs by playing with their toys, entering their crates and pulling their tail and fur when the dog is eating. Even the most good-natured dogs can snap out of instinct when they are bothered when eating.”

WellSpan Medical Group providers say pollen levels are dropping, but those with grass allergies may still be having symptoms. They also are warning people about excessive sun exposure and are encouraging people to perform frequent skin self-examinations.

People are being reminded about the ABCDE’s of early detection:

Assymmetry: One-half of the mole or skin growth doesn’t match the other half.

Border: Irregularity: the edges are ragged, notched or blurred.

Color: The pigmentation is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown and black are present. Dashes of red, white and blue add to the mottled appearance. Color may spread from the edge of a mole into the surrounding skin.

Diameter: The size of the mole is greater than 6 mm (0.2 inches) or about the size of a pencil eraser.

Evolution: There is a change in the shape, size, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface or color of a mole.

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