What's Going Around in the Community?
We are currently seeing cases of chickenpox, a viral illness that is caused by a very contagious virus, varicella zoster. To contract chickenpox, a child usually is exposed to another child with it. Then, in about 2 weeks, the child develops a mild fever and an itchy, bumpy red rash. The red bumps turn into very small blisters. The blisters eventually crust over and scab, and then heal back to normal skin. There is a very effective vaccine to prevent your child from getting chickenpox, and most children who have not had chickenpox should receive the vaccine at any time after their first birthday.
See Also : Chickenpox
We are currently seeing cases of croup, a viral respiratory illness that most often is caused by the parainfluenza virus. The cough and breathing that are associated with croup make it distinctly different from other viral colds or respiratory illnesses. This is because the parainfluenza virus infects and irritates the voice box, the vocal cords, and the windpipe. The cough is worse at night, and it has a distinct bark that sounds much like a seal's bark. Associated with the barky cough, your child may have difficulty when inhaling air, making a labored and whistling sound when breathing in -- called stridor. Humidified air and fluids often are the most helpful treatments.
We are currently seeing children and adolescents with infections caused by the enteroviruses, a group of viruses that often cause illness during the summer and the early fall months. The commonly used term "enterovirus" includes the coxsackie viruses, the echoviruses, and the enteroviruses. These viruses often cause a fever, and also may cause a rash, respiratory or cold symptoms, and vomiting with diarrhea. Hand-foot-mouth disease, a rash that involves those areas of the body, is a common enteroviral infection that occurs in children. More serious illnesses that are caused by these viruses include meningitis, heart infections, and eye infections. For mild illnesses caused by the enteroviruses, the best treatment is adequate rest, plenty of fluids, and fever control.
We are currently seeing children and adolescents with "pink eye." Also known as conjunctivitis, this condition can be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. Viral pink eye typically appears as red and watery eyes, and is accompanied by common viral cold or upper respiratory symptoms. This type of pink eye should resolve itself as the viral cold improves. Bacterial pink eye usually appears as red eyes with yellow or green discharge. Upon awakening, the eyes often are matted shut with dried discharge. This type of pink eye also may be associated with a viral cold, but the bacterial eye infection itself requires antibiotic eye drops to cure. Good handwashing is very important because both viral and bacterial pink eye infections are very contagious.
See Also : Eye - Pus or Drainage
We are currently seeing children with tick bites. Tick bites typically occur during the spring and summer months when children are more likely to be outdoors. Most bites are harmless, and the tick can be removed easily; however, the skin must be examined carefully and thoroughly to find any attached ticks. Several species of tick can transmit diseases when they attach to human skin. The wood tick or the dog tick bite can cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Colorado tick fever, while the deer tick bite can lead to Lyme disease,