What’s Going Around: Chickenpox outbreak reported in Lancaster

Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics reports there has been another small outbreak of chickenpox in Lancaster that has brought in concerned parents.

Roseville also has seen an increased number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease, swimmer’s ear, inner ear infections, viral fevers and an increase in strep throat.

Dr. Joan Thode offers the following advice on how to tell the difference between chickenpox and hand, food and mouth:

“While both of these viruses can cause a similar rash of a clear bubble on a small red base that later crusts over, there are differences: Chickenpox lesions start on the abdomen and torso, then spread outward. HFM can start anywhere and tends to have a concentration on the feet, buttocks, hands and lips/mouth.

Both HFM and chickenpox can be spread through saliva and respiratory droplets, as well as the fluid of the blisters.

Chickenpox blisters tend to be itchy, though the blisters of HFM tend to be more painful. Both diseases can cause fever and low energy, but there’s an added concern for potential pneumonia, hepatitis or neurologic problems with chickenpox, particularly in younger kids.

A person with chickenpox is contagious from about 48 hours prior to the rash developing until all of the blisters have crusted over.

As a reminder, chickenpox is a vaccine-preventable disease. The two doses of the vaccine are given between 12-15 months of age and again at 4 years. We encourage all children to be vaccinated against chickenpox.”

PinnacleHealth’s Heritage Pediatrics has seen a surge in swimmer’s ear.

“This is an infection of the ear canal and in the summer is often by water-logged ears after swimming,” Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman said. “Over the counter swimmers ear drops are only helpful for prevention. They should be used after swimming and after drying the ears out with a towel. Most of these have rubbing alcohol that dries the ear canal out.”

Zimmerman said once the ear is infected, however, it can only be treated with prescription drops.

“Patients will have exquisite tenderness when the outer ear is pulled or pushed on,” she said. “The ear canal can look red and swollen and can have wet discharge draining from it.
Visit your doctor when these symptoms are noted.”

This week, WellSpan Medical Group providers are continuing to report that pollen levels are decreasing across the area, although those with allergies to grass pollen may still be having symptoms.

With the recent summer heat, WellSpan Medical Group providers want to remind everyone to stay hydrated to avoid possibly dangerous dehydration. They recommend making sure to have drinking water available if outdoors, keeping cool or limiting time outdoors during hot days, and for those who participate in sports or other outdoor activities, to consider a sports drink to replace electrolytes. However, they say those with diabetes should keep a close eye on the sports drink’s sugar content.

The pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital are seeing a number of respiratory tract infections. They also report swimmer’s ear and common summertime injuries, including bumps, bruises and splinters.

Providers in Hershey are reporting a decrease in hand, foot and mouth cases.

Medical experts at Summit urgent cares and walk-in clinics in Franklin and Cumberland counties report a continued influx of patients who have been bitten by ticks.

Providers there offer this advice:

“Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor fun with family and friends, but it’s important to protect yourselves from tick bites.

Remember to “Spray Before You Play” with an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, especially if you plan to be in grassy or wooded areas. You can provide yourself and your little ones with added protection by wearing a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt and long pants, when possible. Tuck shirts into pants and pants into close-toed shoes.

When you’ve returned inside, check skin carefully for ticks and continue to watch for signs of a tick bite, since a rash can appear up to 2 or 3 weeks after the bite has occurred. If you or your little ones develop a rash or flu-like symptoms, or you have any concerns, contact your provider for an appointment.”

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