COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update 2020-10-13T20:53:14+00:00

10/07/2020

 

Hello dear families!

I know our world is in a strange state and I SO hope that you are all finding time to breathe and take care of yourselves! It is that time of year again…time to start thinking about protecting your children and your family from the flu virus (and THIS year, in the middle of a Coronavirus pandemic, AND as we try to get our kids back to school safely)! The CDC and the Academy of Pediatrics are recommending any/all forms of the flu vaccine this year (the intranasal Flumist included). Remember, the flu vaccines we offer are ALWAYS mercury/thimerosal/preservative-free, even the ones we give to our parents. A flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older and is especially important for those that have chronic illness or those that have an infant in the home that is not yet old enough to receive one.  A booster is recommended for all children under 9 years of age 30 days after their first dose if they have not received at least 2 doses of a flu vaccine in the past. 

We will offer the quadrivalent flu shot and Flumist (intranasal mist vaccine) this year. The flu shot is NOT a live virus, so you CANNOT get the flu from this vaccine nor are you contagious after receiving the vaccine. The Flumist vaccine IS a live vaccine that can create mild symptoms in some cases, but generally does not make you contagious or ill if you have a normal immune system. The Flumist vaccine is only for healthy individuals between the ages of 2-49 years. The Flumist vaccine is not recommended for those that are pregnant, for anyone that is immunocompromised, or for individuals that have chronic disease.

Because we have a VERY limited supply of the intranasal Flumist, we will only be offering the Flumist to our pediatric patients (not parents). 

The flu vaccine cannot provide 100% protection because the virus often mutates during the flu season that may result in a strain circulating that is not covered by the vaccine. However, there is still significant benefit in the vaccine even if the circulating strain is not covered by the vaccine in that there is enough cross-coverage from similar strains to significantly reduce the length and severity of illness in those that received a flu vaccine. For pediatric patients especially, we feel this is a major benefit: the possibility of mild cold symptoms for a few days versus more severe upper respiratory symptoms, aches, fever for 7-14 days with an increased risk of secondary bacterial infections. 

We are happy to provide flu vaccines to our patients and families by appointment only while supplies last. Patients may receive their flu vaccines during well checks or at the flu clinics. However, in order to maintain our schedule, parents/caregivers may ONLY receive flu shots during our scheduled flu clinics (not during a child’s well/sick visit).

Call to schedule your family’s flu vaccines while supplies last! Be sure to call to reserve your child’s dose if you want the Flumist, even if you have a well check coming up. Thank you for being patient with us as we work as hard as we can to get as many people scheduled as we are able in the next few days. Because our phone lines can get overwhelmed during this process, you can send an e-mail requesting a call back to schedule a flu appointment. We will do our best to call you back in the order we receive your e-mail, as business hours allow. 

*Please look for additional instructions with your reminder texts/calls on staying in your car when you arrive and calling us for further instructions on when to enter the office. We may implement this and other strategies as needed to maximize safety and social distancing during our family flu clinics.  

Take care and stay healthy!

Valerie Wheelock, MD 

Barton Creek Pediatrics Staff

FLU CLINICS:

Every Wednesday and Friday through early November

October 1st (5-7pm)

03/24/2020

Dear Treasured Families,

We hope this email finds you all safe and well (body and spirit)! We want to thank all of you that have been thinking of us and offering your help! We feel so lucky to have such generous families to serve!

In order to serve you the very best that we can during this COVID-19 pandemic, we are making schedule changes for the next several weeks in order to minimize your exposure even more when coming to our office. We are doing all well checks and non-sick visits in the first half of our day and leaving all of our sick visits to the second half of the day. This will help protect our infants and all well patients from exposure to those that are sick. We are exploring curbside visits and telephone visits for the situations that these options may be appropriate. Last week we removed all of our toys/toy bins/sticker and sucker baskets. Two weeks ago we implemented screening protocols for every visit to make sure we do not have patients coming in that meet criteria for COVID-19 testing or exposure. Three weeks ago we implemented even more cleaning protocols to the waiting areas and exam rooms.

To date, we still do not have the ability to test for COVID-19. While we have the test swabs, we do not have the complete protective gear required to see patients that need testing. We have had an order in for this protective gear for weeks now, but they are unable to fulfill our orders. There are a few independent places that have enough gear to do some testing, but it appears that even they may be bound by the narrow testing criteria set up by the CDC/health departments in order to preserve the tests that are currently available (which is very limited).

We absolutely understand how frustrating this process is! What is most important is to stay safe and healthy. If your kids are sick with mild symptoms, you can keep them home and watch them for 1-3 days. If they have symptoms that are hard to treat, symptoms that are getting worse, or if you have an infant less than 3 months be sure and call us! We are open and we are here to help!

Hang in there everyone!

Love to all!!!

Valerie Wheelock, MD

Barton Creek Pediatrics Staff

03/16/2020

Hi everyone!

I hope this e-mail finds you well amidst all the Coronavirus concern! With the growing number of cases in this country as many of you are thinking of travel plans for spring break, we wanted to make sure you have the resources for the most up-to-date and accurate information on the outbreak and the virus itself as it becomes available. Because the data and recommendations are changing so rapidly, we feel it best to refer you to the resources that are keeping their websites current rather than us sending out e-mail updates. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the WHO (World Health Organization) websites are valuable sources of such information:

www.CDC.gov

www.who.int

The WHO announced that this Coronavirus has met criteria for a pandemic. It certainly is prudent to consider avoiding large crowds/events especially in areas where COVID-19 cases have been reported. As the number of cases spread locally and increase in number, the recommendations will likely change rapidly. Check the websites above to stay current for the best measures to protect yourselves and others!

As I am sure you have all heard, it’s worth repeating: This Coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets. Your most important tool to protect yourselves and your children is for everyone to wash their hands frequently (under running water with soap for 20 seconds), use hand sanitizer when washing your hands is not an option, and try to not touch your face!

When you come to our office or call for an appointment, you may notice extra screening questions are being asked so we can be as prepared as possible and triage everyone appropriately. We are following the current recommendations from the CDC and local health department. If your children have cold symptoms, fever, and any concern for COVID-19 exposure, PLEASE NOTIFY US when you call to make an appointment. Our triage nurse will need to evaluate your concerns and follow protocol on whether to bring your child into our office or involve the health department from your home or another care facility to prevent exposure to others. We want you to know we are doing everything we can to provide the best care possible for our patients and families while following the most current protocols to prevent the spread of this new virus even with limited supplies available to us. Our small staff is doing the best we can to keep up with the needs of our community and we always appreciate your understanding during these high-need times!

Because we are being asked frequently: There is NO CORONAVIRUS VACCINE currently. We do not have rapid COVID-19 tests available to us at this time. We hope this will change soon, but currently all COVID-19 tests have to be approved by the health department and are only processed by them at this time.

Wishing you health and wellness! We are here to help!

Sincerely,

Valerie Wheelock, MD

Barton Creek Pediatrics Staff