Strep cases rising in kids in Virginia, less common symptoms showing up
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -The Virginia Department of Health says the number of strep visits across the commonwealth last week was higher than any other week in the last 5 years.
Instead of a red, sore throat and fever, lots of kids are getting strep and showing symptoms of congestion, a runny nose and cough, making it harder for doctors to diagnose.
“We really get into the kind of triple conundrum are we dealing with allergies because everybody knows that allergies are starting to flare, are we still dealing with viruses, and we’re finding that this wasn’t classically the viral season in the spring, but it’s still is proving to be a viral season for several of the different viruses we’re dealing with,” said Dr. Sean McKenna who works at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
Medical officials say that when viral respiratory infections like RSV and flu go up, so do your chances of getting sick with other illnesses because your immune system is weakened.
Elena Diskin with the Virginia Department of Health says that practicing healthy habits is the best way to reduce your chances of getting sick.
”The best way to protect yourself from illness caused by Group A strep is to practice good hand hygiene like washing your hands often and by protecting yourself from other illnesses by getting your flu shot and your other recommended vaccines,” Diskin explained.
The CDC also recently warned about something called invasive strep, which isn’t new but can bring on more intense symptoms if you contract it.
”Invading and affecting the body in a part that’s normally free from germs such as wounds or bloodstreams and those infections can cause hospitalizations and death in some cases,” Diskin stated.
Regardless, health officials say that you should take your child to see a doctor and get tested if they have persistent cold symptoms, usual strep symptoms, or exposure to strep.
”It really does stay in that range. Check-in with your doctor when you have concerns, and we’ll let you know when we think you need to come in to get that sort of treatment and testing potentially,” McKenna said.
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