(WTNH)– With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in many states, including Connecticut, pediatricians are urging parents and guardians to resume in-person pediatric visits.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, wellness visits have dropped significantly resulting in delays in vaccinations, screenings, and other necessary consultations to ensure the health and wellbeing of children. There is concern that the delay in visits could result in a spike or reappearance of vaccine-preventable illnesses.
Dr. Susan Lelko, a pediatrician with ProHealth Physicians in Meriden discusses the importance of keeping up with your child’s health now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The CDC reports two percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 were among patients ages 18 and younger.
Parents or guardians who may be hesitant about returning to their pediatrician’s office should know safeguards and guidance from the CDC are being adopted to minimize risk of COVID-19 exposure.
This is what parents should expect to experience when visiting their pediatrician:
● Scheduling sick visits and well-child visits during different times of the day.
● All staff are wearing personal protective equipment such as masks
● All patients and parents are screened for symptoms of illness and COVID-19 exposure.
● All patients have their temperature taken
● All patients are provided a mask and asked to clean their hands with sanitizer before entering.
COVID-19 can look different to different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths.
Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems.
Dr. Lelko offers these tips to parents to talk to their children about COVID-19:
- Remain calm. Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
- Reassure children that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Make yourself available to listen and to talk. Let children know they can come to you when they have questions.
- Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
- Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online. Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
- Provide information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child. Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
- Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs. Remind children to wash their hands frequently and stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick. Also, remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
- If school is open, discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff.