Flu activity decreased in Pennsylvania this past week, but it’s still described as “widespread.”
There were 16 influenza-related deaths this week, bringing the total to 107 in the state, including two pediatric cases.
State officials said it’s too soon to say with certainty if the flu season has peaked.
The pediatricians at Penn State Children’s Hospital, however, are seeing again an increase of flu cases in kids of all ages, including as young as 3 weeks old. There were multiple cases of influenza-related hospitalizations.
Pediatricians are also seeing a lot of viral upper respiratory illnesses in clinics this week, along with the common cold.
They remind patients it is not too late to get a flu shot.
This week, Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics continued to treat flu cases at a high rate, seeing both A and B strain types.
There has also has been a persistent amount of sore throat cases that have been evenly split between flu or viral pharyngitis and strep pharyngitis.
The common cold and ear infection cases also have persisted.
Bronchiolitis cases in babies have been holding steady, although they have seen a decrease in croup cases in that patient group.
While the number of stomach bug cases decreased this week, they have seen an increase in pneumonia cases in both the younger and older age groups.
There has also been an uncharacteristic surge in mono cases this week.
Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice about when to have your child seen by a doctor:
“There’s a lot of scary flu news swirling around, and it sometimes can be hard as a parent to know when to take your child to be evaluated by a doctor. We always encourage parents to trust their instincts and bring concerns to their doctor. But here is a list that can hopefully help with this decision process.
Reasons to bring your child for medical evaluation include:
-Five consecutive days of fever
-Respiratory distress or labored breathing
-Fevers that come back after one or two days of no fever within the same illness
-Cough that does not improve after about two weeks
-A new rash that occurs during the illness
-New or worsening pain (anywhere) during the illness.”
UPMC Pinnacle’s Heritage Pediatrics is still seeing influenza, with most of the children suffering from high fevers for five to seven days, cough, congestion, headache, stomach ache and fatigue.
There have also been cases of adenovirus, which can have similar symptoms to the flu but is marked by a more noticeable sore throat, swollen glands and red eyes, or conjunctivitis.
“If you have red eyes, especially if there is a yellow discharge, you should see your doctor because this may be bacterial conjunctivitis and may require a prescription eye drop,” Dr. Kathleen Zimmerman said.
This week, WellSpan Medical Group providers continue to see cases of the flu.
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.
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.
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.
Geisinger Holy Spirit reported the following illnesses at their various locations:
Geisinger Holy Spirit Pediatrics, Cumberland and Dauphin counties: flu, RSV, strep throat, stomach bug
Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care, Perry, Dauphin, York counties: flu-like symptoms, fever, vomiting, sore throats
Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care, Cumberland County: flu, viral upper respiratory infections, bronchitis
Geisinger Holy Spirit Urgent Care, Cumberland County: strep throat, flu