What’s Going Around: Flu, COVID-19, croup, asthma issues

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are seeing patients with the flu, upper respiratory tract viruses, the common cold, strep throat and COVID-19.

Currently, Penn State Health Children’s Hospital has four pediatric COVID-19 patients. They see large numbers of pediatric patients with COVID-19 in outpatient clinics. They encourage parents to learn more about pediatric COVID vaccination so they can make a decision about vaccination that is best for their child. For more information on the Pfizer Child Vaccination Authorization, click here.

WellSpan pediatricians in the Midstate are seeing asthma attacks, bronchiolitis or viral colds in infants, COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic, hand food, and mouth and respiratory illnesses such as the common cold.

They also see anxiety, depression and other school-related problems.

The CVS MinuteClinic in York sees viral upper respiratory infections.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Doctors Roseville Pediatrics reports a rising number of flu cases. At the moment they are all Influenza A. They are also seeing an increase in COVID-19, croup and strep throat.

Providers saw a small bump in bronchiolitis, mainly due to RSV, a stomach flu, asthma attacks and ear infections.

dr. Joan Thode gave the following advice about croup:

Croup is a condition in which a virus causes inflammation of the muscles attached to the vocal cords, causing them to become locked in a closed or nearly closed position. The child has to breathe through a much smaller hole, which can give the feeling that they can’t “get the air in”. Coughing croup is very voice-like and barky because the rapid bursts of air are pushed between the closed vocal cords, causing them to vibrate. The classic cough of croup sounds like a seal’s bark.

Croup does not always require treatment. If the child can remain calm and control their breathing, observation and supportive care during the viral symptoms is all that is needed. But if the croup is severe and the breathing space between the vocal cords is very small, sometimes steroids are needed to acutely relieve the inflammation and open the space between the vocal cords.

Interestingly, warm, moist air and cold, dry air can sometimes relieve some of the inflammation of the vocal cords as well. We therefore recommend taking a child with croup to a steamy bathroom or placing the face near the door of a freezer to relieve the symptoms.

Croup is usually experienced by children under the age of six. Older children usually don’t get croup because their airways increase in diameter as they grow and are not as affected by the inflammation. Croup also notoriously worsens at night, so if your child shows signs during the day, it’s advisable to have them evaluated or at the very least let your pediatrician know.

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