See your pediatrician for influenza vaccine during COVID-19 pandemic
by Trisha Korioth, Staff Writer
Make sure your child gets an influenza vaccine, ideally by the end of October. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says all children 6 months and older should get a flu shot each year.
Influenza and COVID-19 will be spreading this fall and winter. They have similar symptoms, so it can be hard to tell them apart.
Both can cause no symptoms or an illness with mild to severe symptoms. Influenza symptoms show up about one to four days (two days on average) after being exposed to a sick person. COVID-19 symptoms appear about two to 14 days (five days on average) after being exposed to a sick person.
It appears more likely that otherwise healthy children get serious illness from the flu than from COVID-19, especially if they did not get a flu shot.
The best place to get a flu shot is your pediatrician’s office. During the visit, your child can get vaccinations required for school and other care that was delayed due to the pandemic.
There is a flu shot and a nasal spray vaccine. The flu shot can be given to otherwise healthy children and children with underlying medical conditions, starting at 6 months of age. The nasal spray vaccine can be given to healthy children who are at least 2 years old.
The AAP recommends:
- Children 6 months through 8 years of age getting the vaccine for the first time need two doses, at least four weeks apart. Children ages 9 and older get only one dose.
- Children who have recovered from COVID-19 can get influenza vaccine after symptoms go away, if they have not already been vaccinated.
- Children with a stuffy nose should wait until their nose is not blocked before getting the nasal spray vaccine.
- Children with egg allergy of any severity can get a flu shot without additional precautions beyond those recommended for any vaccine.
- Children who had allergic reactions to prior influenza vaccines should not be vaccinated until they see an allergist.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL FLU CLINICS THIS YEAR ARE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE DO NOT SHOW UP WITHOUT AN APPOINTEMENT.
The next two flu clinics are on Saturday October 17th and 24th. We do have a few more slots available for flu shots on the 17th. Please call ahead and schedule your child’s appointment to get their flu shot.
We will be having additional flu clinics as well. There will be plenty of time to get the flu vaccine before the flu season is upon us. We also have a limited number of slots Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for the flu vaccine to be administered during office hours. We are trying to space out the flu shots in the office and for the flu clinic so distancing is possible. We would ask that everyone who comes to the office for a flu vaccine be in good health, wear a mask if over the age of 2 years, and have no recent exposures to Covid or recent visits to a high risk area for Covid. We are trying very hard to keep our staff and patients healthy and greatly appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
ALL PATIENT SICK APPOINTMENTS SHOULD ENTER THE BUILDING THROUGH THE SIDE DOOR THAT SAYS EMPLOYEE ENTRANCE SUITE 306-B. PLEASE REVIEW ALL THE INFORMATION BELOW PRIOR TO THE APPOINTMENT.
If your child has an appointment or when you call to schedule an appointment, please let us know if your child has:
- Fever, chills, headache, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath / trouble breathing, muscle aches, loss of sense of taste or smell, and/or extreme fatigue.
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, rash or changes in skin color, confusion, or excessive sleepiness.
- Close contact (within 6 feet for a prolonged period of time) with someone who has had coronavirus (in the past 14 days).
- If they have travelled to a high risk area, either within the United States or out of the country.
Please wear face masks (cloth or surgical) to your visit. Remember that masks are not recommended for children under 2 years of age or for those having trouble breathing.
We are recommending only one caregiver be present for sick visits and as few people as possible for any visit. We realize this is a challenge for families.
If your child is being seen for wheezing or asthma, please bring your child’s albuterol and spacer to your visit. We are not using nebulizers in the office at this time to protect staff from potentially infectious aerosolized particles.
If anyone in your household has COVID-19 or suspected symptoms, please self-isolate and stay at home. Remember that we have no specific treatments for mild Covid-19 symptoms at this time. Rest, fluids, and fever reducers are the best ways to manage symptoms.
Thanks for your patience and cooperation!
At Lincoln Pediatrics, we are taking every precaution to keep your family safe and healthy. In our North Attleboro office, we are seeing well children in the morning and sick children in the afternoon. At our Lincoln office, well children enter through our side door and do not go through the waiting room at all. At both offices, we are keeping the waiting rooms empty and immediately putting patients in the exam room. We are using masks and gloves as appropriate. We are cleaning, cleaning, cleaning like crazy. We feel that coming to our office is safer than visiting the local grocery store or neighborhood Walmart. (Nothing against Walmart!) We would encourage you to keep your child’s appointments, well or sick. We do not want your children to fall behind on their immunizations or miss an opportunity for developmental screening, general advice and anticipatory guidance. When you do come to the office, we would ask that you bring as few people as possible. We know with families this can be tricky. We would also ask you to bring your child’s inhalers and spacer to the appointment if they are having a respiratory problem.
Having said the above, we know that there is a tremendous amount of fear and trepidation among parents. That is why we are now offering phone and Telemedicine visits when appropriate. We would encourage you to download the AnyMeeting Video Conferencing App to any device that has a camera to facilitate a Telemedicine visit. A laptop, IPad or tablet would be preferred over a cell phone. We have found that the AnyMeeting App is simple and convenient to use. The App is free and there is no registration or log-in needed on your part. It is also encrypted and HIPAA compliant. Please know that this is an option if you are hesitant to make or keep an appointment. We are here for you and are trying to be innovative and flexible to meet your family’s needs. Feel free to call us if you have any further questions. We appreciate your understanding in this difficult and challenging time.
PLEASE BE MINDFUL THAT AFTER HOUR AND WEEKEND CALLS SHOULD BE LIMITED TO EMERGENCIES ONLY. ROUTINE QUESTIONS, REFILLS ON MEDICATIONS, AND NON-URGENT MATTERS SHOULD BE TAKEN CARE OF DURING OUR REGULAR HOURS MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY. OUR STAFF, ANSWERING SERVICE, AND NURSING TRIAGE SERVICE ARE BECOMING INUNDATED WITH NON-URGENT MATTERS AFTER HOURS AND ON WEEKENDS, DELAYING THEIR RESPONSE TO MORE URGENT SITUATIONS. WE APPRECIATE YOUR HELP AND COOPERATION IN THIS MATTER.
Lincoln Pediatrics prides itself on our availability to our patients and their families. It surprises us many times our families are unaware just how available we are. We always encourage our families to CALL US FIRST before heading to the urgent care or ER because we can often see your child in our office, temporize the situation and see them the next day, or guide you as to where you should take your child to be seen. Please review the following information:
- Monday through Friday we are answering the phone in the office at 8:00 AM and on Saturday at 8 AM. We do not have Sunday office hours, but a physician is still available by phone. See below.
- Monday through Friday we utilize our pediatric nurse, Judy, to handle many of the routine calls. If you need to speak to a physician, we will catch up on calls at lunchtime or the end of the day. Urgent calls are usually referred immediately to a provider.
- Monday through Thursday we are in the office until 7 PM, and Fridays until 5 PM.
- Each Saturday we are in the office until at least noon seeing patients. On the Saturdays we are also covering for Blackstone Valley Pediatrics, we are there until later in the afternoon, but there is no set time that we finish up. It varies with the demand for appointments.
- Monday through Friday until 9 PM and weekends and Holidays until 6 PM, a physician will return calls from families. You should expect a return call within the hour unless we are still finishing up in the office. In that case a return call may be a little more delayed. We encourage families to call again if they have not been reached in a timely fashion (1-2 hours) or if the situation has become more urgent.
- Monday through Friday after 9 PM and weekends and Holidays after 6 PM, we use a nursing service call Nurse Telephone Triage. They are a professional nursing service trained in the telephone management of sick children. They provide excellent care, have physician back-up, and provide an email the next day documenting the phone encounter. This goes in the individual child’s record.
- ANYTIME YOU ARE CONSIDERING TAKING A CHILD TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM OR URGENT CARE, PLEASE CALL US FIRST. We can often manage the situation over the phone, make a timely appointment for your child the next day, or guide you to the best place to take your child for evaluation. Hasbro provides excellent care, but is not always the best or most convenient place to take you child. That is where we can help.
- Anytime you need to reach us, call our regular number at 401-334-4021, and when you hear the voice recording, push zero and you will be directed to our answering service. They will relay the message to the appropriate person. If our phone lines are not working properly, an alternative number to reach us is 401-276-8023. This number should be used only when our phone system is out of commission.
- Monday through Friday you will only get a representative from our office returning your call. On weekends it may vary between our office and Blackstone Valley Pediatrics (BVP) who we share weekend coverage with. Depending on the timing of your call, someone from BVP may return your call, or you may be directed to make an appointment for your child to be seen at their office.
We hope these reminders will be helpful this season. Again, we encourage all children to get the flu shot!