What’s going around?
As a pediatrician, I am often asked the question “What’s going around?” by friends and family as a conversation starter. I resist the urge to answer, “everything,” and I pause to approach this question with a more scientific and thoughtful reply.
In reality, there is a certain seasonality that is quite dependable in pediatrics. For example, the months of October through March in the northeast are traditionally the busiest months to visit a pediatrician’s office. During this time, the office is usually inundated with children who have upper respiratory illnesses. We are likely to diagnose cases of influenza (flu), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and a whole host of other respiratory viruses. Additionally, pneumonia seems to occur more often in children during this time period as well. We also see an increase in the incidence of strep throat during the months that school is in session. This is likely due to the direct contact that leads to strep infections in school settings.
From spring to summer, while non-infectious, we often see patients for seasonal allergies as well. During the summer months, you may have noticed your pediatrician’s office is a bit quieter. During these months, it is far more common to be see healthy children for checkups than to see the viruses and infections described above. However, we do see many patients for otitis externa during the summer months, also known as swimmer’s ear. We also tend to see the dreaded, but usually relatively benign hand foot and mouth virus in the warmer months.
Unfortunately, when it comes to vomiting and diarrhea, there is less seasonality. While Norovirus (virus causing vomiting and diarrhea) occurs most often during the winter months, specifically from October to April, this virus is persistent and often shows its face during the summer months as well. Additionally, Rotavirus, once a scourge of the pediatrician which led to many infantile hospitalizations for vomiting and diarrhea tends to occur from November to April with peaks in February and March, however in recent years the illness burden has been dramatically reduced by the introduction of the oral Rotavirus vaccine.
While this is just a small segment of the illnesses we see in a pediatric setting, I hope this has helped to give you a better idea about the kinds of illnesses that are seen with the changing seasons. As always the best way to prevent your child from getting sick is to encourage frequent hand washing with soap and water. When prevention alone does not work, we are always available to see your child or have one of our board certified pediatrician's return your phone call whenever needed.
I am a board certified pediatrician who has been at Healthy Kids Pediatrics for the past year. Prior to working at Healthy Kids Pediatric Group, I practiced at a busy office in southern New Jersey where I worked for eight years after completing residency at St. Christophers Hospital For Children in Philadelphia. My interests include general pediatric well care, complicated medical conditions and behavioral health including ADHD. All of us at Healthy Kids Pediatric Group look forward to meeting new patients.