What’s Going Around: Swimmer’s ear, walking pneumonia, & mosquito bites

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

Medical experts at Summit urgent cares and walk-in clinics in Franklin and Cumberland counties report seeing increases in patients with hand, foot, and mouth disease and ear pain related to swimmer’s ear.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is most common in children who are two months to five years of age. It presents as a rash on, or in, the mouth, on hands, and on feet. However, the rash does not have to be located on all areas to be a case of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Other symptoms include fever, irritability, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.

It is only contagious to those who have not yet had it.

Summit Health providers recommend medical evaluation to determine the cause of any rash or skin irritation. Hand, foot, and mouth disease is viral, so, antibiotics won’t help you or your child get better any faster and shouldn’t be used as treatment. However, symptoms can be alleviated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It’s also important to practice good handwashing and keep the rashes clean.

Swimmer’s ear occurs when water remains in your ear after swimming, creating a warm, moist environment that supports the growth of bacteria. Symptoms include itching, pain or discomfort, and slight redness inside the ear. Sometimes, the ear may drain odorless, colorless fluid. In more severe cases, patients may experience increased pain, fever, and swelling of the outer ear or lymph nodes. If you think you or your child has swimmer’s ear, you should seek evaluation and care from a medical professional. In most cases, a provider will prescribe ear drops to rid the ear canal of bacteria.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help with pain.

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. Swimming safety is especially important this time of year, with many taking to lakes, rivers, pools and beaches. WellSpan Medical Group providers want to remind everyone to be safe in the water. They recommend that swimmers know their limits before taking to the water, swimming with someone and supervising children at all times, entering the water in areas designated for swimming, utilizing U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when appropriate, and remembering to stay hydrated.

Doctors at PinnacleHealth are seeing lots of patients coming in for mosquito bites. Many people get “hypersensitivity” reactions to these kinds of bites which leaves a local area of redness and swelling around the bite. Sometimes these areas are large and can be a few inches in diameter. This usually happens pretty quickly – usually in first few hours after the bites. But the redness and swelling can take a few days to go down. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help reduce the itching and swelling but check with your doctor before using it. If the redness does not decrease or becomes warm and painful to the touch then you should see your doctor to make sure the skin did not become infected. Skin infection after an insect bite is more serious and needs medical attention.

At Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics, doctors have seen walking pneumonia with higher frequency, as well as continued high numbers of swimmer’s ear cases and an increasing number of hand, foot and mouth disease cases. Doctors are also seeing concussions, as well as abrasions also known as “road rash.” With the heat, doctors have also fielded multiple concerns about dehydration.

A few notes about dehydration:

· With outdoor summer play, it’s important to stay ahead of dehydration. Kids who are playing outside should have water breaks every one to two hours at a minimum.

· If your child is feeling thirsty, they already are dehydrated. The best rehydration solution is water. Be wary of sugary sports drinks like Gatorade, as sugar can worsen dehydration by causing increased urination.

· That being said, it is unsafe to give babies younger than 6 months pure water, as their kidneys are not mature enough. Their hydration must come only from breast milk or formula.

· If your child appears very red without sweat or seems disoriented, they need to be immediately cooled and brought to medical attention.

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