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Health

Current Health Concerns: Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease and Stomach Bugs

This week, pediatricians at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are treating cases of colds, poison ivy, allergies, stomach bugs, and some instances of COVID-19.

At UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in York and Spring Grove, providers are addressing stomach viruses, hand, foot, and mouth disease, along with cases of croup, strep throat, and adenovirus.

WellSpan Pediatric Medicine Physicians across the Midstate are managing seasonal allergies causing nasal drip, sore throat, and mild cough. They are also seeing asthma exacerbations and skin rashes from outdoor exposures.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians at Roseville Pediatrics report ongoing high numbers of strep throat cases. They continue to treat moderate cases of walking pneumonia and various viral illnesses. Additionally, they are treating increasing instances of rashes, including poison ivy, sunburn, and hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Dr. Joan Thode provided advice on sunburn and phytophotodermatitis:

“It’s crucial to remember that even on cloudy days, sun exposure and burns can occur. Apply sunscreen in the morning and late afternoon, 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to absorb fully into the skin. Reapply every two hours, or sooner after swimming or heavy sweating.

Choose sunscreen with UV-A and UV-B protection listed on the label. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) indicates a product’s UV-blocking ability over a specific period. Higher SPF numbers offer greater protection, with a minimum of SPF 30 recommended, especially for children. Proper application ensures effectiveness.

Most sunscreens contain molecules that absorb UV rays before they reach the skin’s DNA. Babies under 6 months should use physical barrier sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to reflect harmful rays, as their skin is more absorbent.

Sunburns range from first-degree (painful, pink/red skin that later peels) to second-degree (blistering within skin layers, increased pain, infection risk, and scarring).

Phytophotodermatitis is a unique sunburn intensified by acidic substances, often from citrus. Drips from acidic foods or summer treats can cause localized burns in unusual patterns. While rarely progressing to second-degree burns, direct midday sun exposure with acidic skin contact can increase severity. After acidic exposure, wipe skin and reapply sunscreen.”

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