What's going around: How to tell if it's strep, flu, rotavirus or norovirus
Sniffling, sneezing, tummy aches and worse. A lot of things are in the air right now making kids and adults sick. So what are our physicians seeing?
Halley Hogan, M.D., a pediatrician at Cook Children’s newest location in Prosper, Texas, took some time to answer our questions about what’s going around.
What kind of bugs are you seeing in your office right now?
We’re seeing cases of Influenza B, norovirus and group A strep.
Is the flu season still in full swing or are we nearing the end?
We are begining to see flu activity throughout the state of Texas. Flu activity will likely remain high for several more weeks.
What should parents know about the difference between the flu, norovirus and rotavirus?
Norovirus is the virus that causes the “stomach bug.” It causes vomiting and diarrhea and can affect anyone.
Rotavirus most often affects infants and young children. It can cause fever, watery diarrhea and vomiting. What we worry about most with rotavirus is infants/young children becoming dehydrated. It is recommended that children get the rotavirus vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months of age. Vaccinated kids are less likely to get sick from rotavirus and can have less severe symptoms if they do get rotavirus.
Flu is caused by the influenza virus. Flu affects the respiratory system, and can cause fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and fatigue.
With many schools back in session after spring break last week, what does that mean for these illnesses? Are kinds more at risk being in school?
Flu is spread when people with the virus talk, sneeze, or cough, sending flu droplets to the people close to them. It can also be spread by touching a surface that has flu virus on it and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes. If you have the flu, you are contagious one day before symptoms start and up to 7 days after becoming sick.
Norovirus can also spread easily. Kids can get norovirus by sharing food or drinks with someone who is sick, or by touching surfaces contaminated with norovirus and then touching their mouths. You are most contagious with norovirus while you have vomiting/diarrhea, but you can still spread it for two weeks after you are better.
Many times, children with flu or norovirus return to school while they are still contagious and this increases the spread of these illnesses and can cause outbreaks in schools.
Are there any questions or concerns you’re hearing from parents?
Yes, parents often ask “How can we decrease the chances of siblings/other family members/friends getting the flu?”
The best way to decrease your risk of flu is getting the flu vaccine every year. It is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands after.
Dr. Hogan was raised in the Dallas area. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from SMU, she attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for her medical degree. She then completed her pediatric residency at University of Texas Southwestern in Austin. Dr. Hogan is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Hogan provides comprehensive health care to children of all ages. She has a passion for pediatrics and loves getting to know families, with the philosophy that providing the best primary care depends on developing personal relationships with her patients and their families. She has a special interest in preventative medicine and promoting healthy, happy childhoods for all children. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two young sons, as well as reading and traveling. Make an appointment with Dr. Hogan here.