Taking Care of Your Child’s Health and Wellness during COVID-19 with pediatrician Dr. Nick Jernigan:
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we think about and access healthcare these days. For families, that includes well and sick care for children. We asked Nick Jernigan, MD to talk about the importance of getting appropriate care for your children and answer some questions regarding children’s health during the current pandemic.
Q: Can I still contact my child’s pediatrician to talk about a health issue?
A. Definitely. It is always okay for you to contact us about any health or wellness issues your child may be experiencing, and/or questions you may have. Many of these include minor injuries to colds or more serious health conditions. Right now, it is especially important to stay alert to your child’s health, and us if you think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are exhibiting any symptoms you are worried about.
Depending on your child’s issue and symptoms, we may want you to come in for a visit or – if deemed appropriate – we may schedule a virtual telehealth visit over the Zoom App.
Q: Is it okay to schedule an appointment for my child’s annual well visit?
A. Yes. Well visits are essential. They provide pediatricians the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive examination, monitor your child’s growth and developmental milestones, make sure they are up-to-date on immunizations and answer any questions you may have.
Now is a particularly good time to schedule your child’s wellness check. Our offices are taking extra precautions to protect the health and safety of your family and ours. We even have a few more openings for these types of visits than usual. An annual physical will help your child be ready for the return of school sports and other activities that require an annual physical and immunization updates at any point in the next 6-9 months.
Q: Should my child wear a mask or cloth face covering?
A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone two years and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth when out in the community. Children do not need to wear a mask or cloth face covering if they are at home and not exposed to someone with COVID-19. Cloth face coverings can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and should be worn in addition to other measures like social distancing, frequent hand-cleaning and other preventive measures. It is important to remember that cloth face coverings are not intended to protect the person wearing the covering. Rather, they help prevent the spread of illness to others. They are especially helpful if the wearer is asymptomatic and thus unaware that they could be passing the illness on to others.
Based on these recommendations, you should use a mask or cloth face covering for your child if you are taking them into a public place. This is especially important where it can be difficult to maintain safe social distances, like grocery stores, Wal-Mart. Additionally, if you are visiting our office, we ask that your child be masked when they enter the office for their safety and the safety of others.
Children under two should not wear a mask due to the potential for suffocation. Those who have trouble breathing, are incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove their face covering without help are also exempted from this recommendation. If your child has special health needs and cannot wear a traditional mask or cloth face covering, you should talk to your pediatrician about other safety options. Face shields can be an excellent alternative.
Q: How can I help my child cope with what is happening right now?
A: Our current events can be a scary and unsettling time for children, but there are some things you can do to help them, including open discussions about what may be bothering them; answering their questions with simple but honest language; helping them stay connected with friends and family through video chats; and maintaining healthy routines at home that reinforce healthy eating, physical activity, learning, and regular bedtimes.
If your child needs a pediatrician, Harris Pediatric Care can help. Call 844.414.DOCS to get connected with care to help your child stay on the road to good health today and for years to come.