What’s Going Around: flu, stomach bug, respiratory illnesses

Health care providers at Summit Health’s urgent care clinics in Franklin and Cumberland counties are reporting a very high number of patients with flu symptoms.

In just one day, they saw more than 100 community members complaining of flu symptoms, including fever, chills, a cough and aches.

The flu can be very serious, especially in the elderly, young children, or those with respiratory conditions.

It is important that you are checking in with a health care professional if you experience a high fever or have shortness of breath.

This week, Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics continued to see a lot of flu cases, including both A and B strains.

Sore throats and strep continued to be seen in high numbers, with strep being about 40 percent of the sore throat cases.

They also saw an increase in stomach bug cases again this week, as well as a few cases of mono.

There has been no decrease in bronchiolitis cases in babies and toddlers, although they did see a decrease in croup.

The typical viral colds have continued at a high rate at Roseville.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice this week:

“Strep and influenza can have similar symptoms.

Vomiting is not typically part of influenza, though it is very frequently a part of strep. Sore throat and headache can be part of either one.

High fevers are typically a hallmark of the flu, though strep can have high fevers and present in older kids with a generalized achy feeling and fatigue.

Gastroenteritis, the stomach bug, will typically start with vomiting and end up with diarrhea, and may or may not have a fever, which is usually not high if it occurs. Strep and the flu don’t have a diarrhea component.

If concerned for strep, it’s a good idea to be seen and tested, as we treat strep to try to prevent some of the bad secondary outcomes.

The flu and gastroenteritis are unfortunately viral illnesses that need to run their course. While Tamiflu is an option for specific at-risk kids with confirmed flu cases, it is not needed to avoid long-term side effects of the flu.

With gastroenteritis, medication can be prescribed to limit vomiting to avoid dehydration.

Anti-diarrheal medications should be avoided so the course of the diarrhea is not prolonged.

With all illness, hydration is important, as is hand-washing.”

This week, WellSpan Medical Group providers continue to see cases of the flu. Providers are also seeing cases of bronchitis and sinusitis, which can cause complications of the flu or flu-like illnesses.

WellSpan Medical Group providers have observed more than one flu strain in communities, making it possible for residents to get the flu more than once this season. WellSpan Medical Group providers say it is still not too late to get a flu shot; 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.

Flu cases have been observed at WellSpan hospitals, urgent care and primary care locations. WellSpan Medical Group providers urge sick individuals to seek treatment. Early diagnosis may lessen the severity and duration of the illness. The WellSpan Medical Group is asking community members to be vigilant, and to be on the lookout for family, friends and neighbors who show signs of respiratory illness and to get them medical care, if needed.

As a reminder, those seeking care for respiratory illnesses at any WellSpan care site, such as primary or urgent care locations or hospitals, are encouraged to adhere to respiratory etiquette practices. Techniques such as coughing into the inside of your elbow, frequent handwashing with antibacterial soaps for 20 to 30 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, such as Purell, are recommended to help prevent the spread of illness in public and at home.

The Penn State Children’s hospital in Hershey has seen an uptick of pediatric flu patients in the last week, as well as some respiratory viruses, although not as many as prior weeks. Pediatricians are also seeing cases of the common cold.

Geisinger Holy Spirit reported the following illnesses this week:

Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics, Cumberland and Dauphin counties: flu, strep throat, stomach bug

Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care, Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, York counties: viral upper respiratory conditions, flu, stomach bugs

Geisinger Holy Spirit Urgent Care, Carlisle: flu, strep throat, stomach bug

UPMC Pinnacle’s Heritage Pediatrics is still seeing young children with bronchiolitis.

Bronchiolitis is a respiratory illness in young children that causes heavy mucous production and a heavy cough and wheezing. It’s caused by viruses, including RSV and also influenza viruses. It often starts with a fever for three to five days. After about a week, wheezing or more difficult or more rapid breathing can start. If parents notice worsening breathing or a wheezing sound, they should call their medical provider.

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