Now that school is in full swing, it's the perfect time to take inventory on how your kids are doing, and a good time to think about the fall and winter, and the viral illnesses that are sure to come. It's also a great time to think about fall and winter safety challenges for your children (see our waiting room safety board, prepared by Heather Casavant, one of our fantastic nurses).
Here are some things to think about this fall:
As many of you already know, the influenza vaccine has been delayed again this year. Because of production and shipping delays with the company, the quadrivalent (i.e. containing pieces of 4 strains of influenza virus) vaccine is still yet to arrive at our office in enough quantity for us to run our flu clinics.
We have been giving Flumist vaccine to our healthy (i.e. having no medical issues preventing its use) patients and injectable vaccine to children under 3 in the office for other issues (checkups, sick visits), and will continue to do so. We expect the vaccine shortly, and will keep you posted.
We are aware that some patients are receiving flu vaccine at convenience care clinics (like CVS Minute Clinics). If you do so, please contact us (patient portal preferred!) to let us know so that we can input the date into your child's record. Keep in mind, however, that the flu vaccine received at these clinics is the trivalent form (i.e. 3 strains), and our recommendation is to receive the quadrivalent.
Please remember, the flu vaccine does not give you the flu, and people can receive the vaccine even if they are not feeling 100%. If you're not sure, please discuss with us. Every year, we have children not receiving the vaccine who then contract influenza.
Therapists Join Team at Post Road Pediatrics
We are very excited to welcome Kristina Ten Haagen, Ph.D. and Jody Hochschartner-Boyd, Ed.D, to our practice. Over the last year, we have been working to cement our partnership with Psychological Care Associates, and, starting Monday, we are pleased to be able to offer their services, in addition to the other services we offer. The initiative to add therapists to our team came as a result of a lot of hard work, and could not have been done without our close partnership with Boston Children's Hospital. This partnership will advance our ability to provide behavioral health services to our patients, including some medication management; having these wonderful therapists right here in our office will be a great benefit for our families.
As usual, if you have a concern about your child's emotional well-being, behavior, school progress, if there are general life difficulties, or other similar issues, please call us. Our team, including Jessica Crosier, our medical home care coordinator, our front desk staff, our nurses, our office manager, or our providers, are all able to help to connect you with Dr. Ten Haagen or Dr. Hochschartner-Boyd. If you have a new concern, any of our staff will schedule an appointment for you to see your primary pediatrician, and he/she will help you from there.
With "back to school " time comes many potential transition issues, some of which we discussed in last year's newsletter. One of the most troubling, and (sometimes) hardest-to-diagnose, is bullying. Keep in mind that bullying can take one of 4 forms: physical, verbal, hidden (like exclusion, mean humor or looks, or rumor-spreading), or cyberbullying.
Children can be very adept at hiding the fact that they are being bullied. Some common telltale signs of bullying might include (but not be limited to, the following:
Anger or acting-out
Avoidance of typical activities or places
School avoidance or poor performance
If any of these issues surface, please act sooner rather than later, and contact us for a consult appointment; we'd like to help solve this significant problem for you and your child.
As with other childhood issues, trying to be proactive in looking for bullying is a way to pick it up early. Asking your children how school or karate went that day, or who their favorite playmates are, or if there are any children "being mean" to them at school, or on the bus, are some good ways to help uncover problems. Sometimes, siblings might have an inkling about what's going on with your troubled child, so seeking out their opinions could be helpful, as well.
Ken Rigby's site is an excellent resource on bullying; there are some great tips there on recognizing and dealing with bullying, along with some coping strategies for your child, including an interesting technique called Fogging.
Our walk-in appointments are still very popular with our families. Please keep in mind that walk-in time is for 1) acute, non-serious, "quick" illnesses; and 2) non-holiday weekdays only; weekends and Monday holidays like Columbus Day, for example, do not feature walk-in appointments. Thanks for understanding!
We'll continue to plug our patient portal, a great way to interface with our office without negotiating the phone tree. Please send us a request to register at firstname.lastname@example.org (the best way) or call us for help getting started.
Nutrition and ImPACT testing
Given the number of our patients sustaining concussions, we recommend that all children age 12 and older engaging in any kind of contact sport have concussion baseline testing to aid with concussion evaluation and return to sports. RE: nutrition, we have an excellent nutritionist as part of our staff (Erin Wholey), who sees children with a variety issues, including picky eating, food refusal, eating disorders, and sports nutrition. Erin sees patients on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, so if you have a concern, give us a call to schedule an appointment with her.
On the subject of nutrition, here's a fantastic resource on this idea for food introduction that is gaining popularity. Since food texture is often an issue for young children, starting them off early can help to prevent some of the issues children have with chunkier foods. Plus, there have been some studies that have shown that this philosophy may have some role in preventing obesity. Some of our families have tried it and found it to be very effective, and maybe just as important, fun. Try it out!
Please feel free to forward this email to whomever; we look forward to getting all of our families connected to our email list.
Thanks again for choosing us as your medical home.
Post Road Pediatrics