What’s Going Around: the flu is here

The flu has made its way to the Midstate.

WellSpan Medical Group providers have seen several confirmed cases of the flu in York, Adams and Lancaster counties, with additional presumed cases.

Proviers want to stress the importance of annual flu vaccinations; the best defense against the flu. Anyone looking to schedule their flu vaccine may contact their primary care provider. For additional information, visit http://www.WellSpan.org.

In addition, WellSpan providers are also seeing a number of allergic sinus issues, or sinusitis, possibly related local harvests. For those affected, over-the-counter allergy medication may help.

Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics saw a surge in seasonal allergy symptoms, as well as sinusitis and ear infections.

Croup cases continue to be at a moderately high level. They have also continued to see a lot of fevers with viral colds.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about nasal discharge:

“In the past, it was felt that the color of nasal discharge was indicative of a bacterial infection, but we know now that the yellow or green color simply means that immune cells are present and actively fighting.

Most of the time, these infections are viral. Doctors start to worry about bacterial infections of the nasal passages and sinuses when nasal drainage has persisted for over 10 consecutive days without improvement, or when a patient develops a fever more than five days into the course of the nasal discharge.

We typically wait to treat a persistently runny nose until the symptoms have lasted past the 10-day mark.

While a true sinusitis requires antibiotic therapy, viral illnesses do not. Giving unneeded antibiotics causes unpleasant side effects and teaches bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics.”

PinnacleHealth’s Heritage Pediatrics in Camp Hill reports seeing a lot of sinus infections this week. Symptoms include severe nasal congestion, facial pressure or headaches, heavy mucous production that drains in the throat, and often a cough associated with that drainage, especially when laying down.

These symptoms can also be seen with a common cold, so it can be difficult to tell the difference, according to Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman.

“Most colds last about two weeks or at least improve at two weeks,” Zimmerman said. “If you’ve had these symptoms for two or more weeks, and there is no sign of improvement, then you should see your doctor.”

Zimmerman said kids suffering from sinus infections might need antibiotics to be prescribed. It is also helpful, she said, to stay hydrated with plenty of water, use salt water sprays or drops in the nose to help clear out the mucous, and for children over two, elevating the head with a pillow can help with drainage and cough.

“When dry heat is on in the house but can be helpful to also have a cool mist humidifier in your room to keep the air moist,” she said.

The pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey report seeing cases of the common cold, as well as adenovirus and parainfluenza, which both cause respiratory infections.

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