Northampton Area Pediatrics, LLP
193 Locust Street 
Northampton, MA 01060
413-584-8700
413-584-1714 (fax)

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Holiday Hours

 

2020

Memorial Day

Monday, May 25

10:00am to 3:00pm

Urgent Care Only 

 

Independence Day (Observed)

Friday, July 3

10:00am to 3:00pm

Urgent Care Only 

 

Labor Day

Monday, September 7

9:00am to 5:00pm

Urgent Care Only 

 

Columbus Day

Monday, October 12

9:00am to 5:00pm

Urgent Care Only 

 

Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, November 26

9:00am to 12:00pm

Urgent Care Only 

 

Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 24

8:00am to 5:00pm

 

Christmas Day

Friday, December 25

11:00am to 2:00pm

Urgent Care Only 

 

New Year’s Eve

Thursday, December 31

8:00am to 5:00pm

COVID-19 NEWS ARCHIVE

June 23, 2020

We often have parents asking for resources that can help them explain to their children all the changes in the world right now related to the COVID pandemic. Topics such as: explaining COVID to young children, easing anxiety around wearing masks, and understanding how and why doctor’s office appointments are very different now are common examples of information that parents have been asking for.

As we begin to slowly expand our social circles and venture outside of our homes a bit more, we would like to provide our patients and families with some resources to help answer these questions for your child.  
 
Article:

Helping People with ASD Manage Masks and COVID Tests 
Tips and suggestions to address the challenges of wearing masks and getting tested for COVID, for both children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (and others with sensory intolerances and social communication challenges)


Social Stories:

What is Coronavirus? 
A story designed for young children, to help ease anxiety and to address a range of emotions arising from the COVID pandemic. Available to download in seven languages

Why does my doctor look different?
A story for children explaining the types of personal protective equipment worn by doctors and nurses

Masks, face shields, and gloves, oh my! 
This story explains why masks are important, and illustrates the different types of masks people might wear
 
Getting tested for COVID 
This story explains the process of drive-up COVID nasal swab testing. It includes an additional animated version

Haircuts during COVID 
A social story to ease anxiety around visiting the salon or barber during the COVID pandemic

Podcast:

A Mom’s Retreat by Lynn Lyons
Available to download on your smartphone or tablet. This podcast focuses on managing worry, modeling emotional literacy for our children, and the prevention of anxiety and depression by raising courageous, resilient and flexible children. It also addresses children’s emotions and parenting and how they are more complex during the COVID pandemic.


 

June 5, 2020 How to Open Up (cautiously!)

Now that our state is starting the slow process of reopening, we are getting many questions regarding which activities are safe for children to attend, and what precautions still need to be taken. To answer that question, we need to keep in mind what we know of COVID-19 – how it is spread, what helps lower chances of infection—and what are the consequences of continuing isolation and social-distancing.  

First, the virus has not just gone away, the risks are still there, but with declining rates of infection the risks are decreasing somewhat while the effects of isolation are increasing. We know that wearing a mask, maintaining 6 feet or more of separation, and careful self-quarantine of persons with symptoms of illness or known COVID-19 exposure are important measures to reduce the likelihood of spreading infection. So being in close talking distance, longer (e.g. > 15 minute) interactions, interactions with persons with fever or actively coughing or not wearing a mask, places you at much greater risk of contracting the virus than simply walking by someone wearing a mask who stays 6 feet away.  

Second, we are seeing the unintended consequences of children who are being isolated at home and getting less exercise, presenting with more depression, anxiety, and troubles resulting from too much screen time.  We are receiving reports of more child neglect, decreased vaccination rates and delayed care for fear of going to doctors’ offices. 

Finally, we know that the vast majority of children who get COVID-19 illness still have mild disease compared to those who are older and those who have a chronic disease. And yet we also need to make sure what our kids do does not place others at undue risk.

To continue providing your child with good medical care, everyone on your team at NAP will work with you to place these considerations into balance, determining what is reasonably safe and what should still be avoided for your individual child, knowing that each child and family has unique circumstances. This balance will certainly continue to be an ever-changing mark as we move through the phases of reopening.

Here are some specific suggestions to get you started: 
o Begin to think about increasing the number of people who are in your circle of interactions. A somewhat larger circle that includes 1 best friend or favorite family [that regards you the same way] will work better than each child or family with their own network of interactions.

o Start by asking difficult questions of your friends (and family) who you might want to join in that circle—how careful are they in maintaining distances, wearing masks, and avoiding contact with others? Can you have confidence in them following the same sorts of precautions as you would for them?

o Make sure people in your group are honest and will report symptoms of a possible infection, meaning they should promptly exit the circle for a period of time. 

o Prioritize activities that will help your child get exercise, feel good to be outside, and that lead to fun, healthy experiences.

o Start slowly, and set the expectation that the amount of interaction may increase or decrease over time based on the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community and the risks and benefits of looser isolation.

o Still avoid those activities that are not necessary; most often, children should still not be going to stores or participating in family errands where their participation is not essential.

o Think about those family members or friends who are most vulnerable and if you want to visit them make sure that your child has not recently been exposed to someone with symptoms of an infection, wear masks, keep distance.

Of course, there are many variables to this equation, and you might need more guidance on what activities or visits are safe and necessary for you and your family. If you are looking for more specific guidance, your primary care provider at NAP can help. Please call our office and schedule a virtual visit to discuss the specifics of how you can start doing more outside your home but in a reasonably safe way.   

If you are feeling like the changes and uncertainty are never-ending, so are we. Yet we have been tremendously encouraged by how thoughtful and cautious NAP patients and families are being, and this gives us hope as we travel together, one step at a time, through the COVID-19 era. Please reach out to us if we can help in any way.

For more information on this topic here is an article from a nationally recognized pediatrician, Perri Klass.

And an article about hugs.

 


May 16, 2020  Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS)

We have received many questions and concerns about PMIS. PMIS is a new syndrome that has been associated with COVID-19. Children with this syndrome may have fever, rash, red eyes and appear very ill. Because of the similarity of symptoms, it is often being called a “Kawasaki’s-like” illness. So far this is very rare with only a few cases in our state but more reported in New York and in Europe.  

COVID-19 is a new virus, and we are learning more about the many possible presentations and treatments of this disease every day. The Centers for Disease Control [CDC] has just highlighted PMIS in order to alert pediatric providers about the symptoms, evaluation and treatment of this new syndrome. We at NAP monitor these developments constantly and are in frequent communication with our colleagues at Boston Children’s Hospital, Baystate and Cooley Dickinson about the testing and treatment resources needed for all COVID-19 related illness.
However, it is important to keep in perspective that for the most part, children have done very well when infected by the coronavirus and almost always have mild symptoms of cough or fever, and often no symptoms at all.  

Please keep in mind that if your child does get sick especially with fever, rash or red eyes or is appearing ill, you should call us promptly for advice and an appointment. We are still open every day of the year and can see your child if you have any concerns about this illness.  


May 11, 2020 NAP is safe and quiet.

These past few weeks have seemed like years for us at NAP and surely for you staying at home and practicing social distancing. We want to thank our community for taking the many precautions that have resulted in reducing the burden of COVID -19 on our local health resources and have helped save lives. We also want to thank all our NAP families who have supported NAP with your generous donations of masks, gowns, and other PPE supplies, and for your frequent words of appreciation for staying open and providing care during these difficult times.
 
Our office does not currently resemble the busy, crowded, noisy office that it once was. Office volume has reduced significantly so time spent in our waiting room is minimal and contact with other patients is almost eliminated. Everyone entering our building is screened for symptoms and required to wear a face mask while in the practice. We have physically adapted our office to provide the safest possible care to our patient and families by completely walling off a section of the office to see patients with symptoms of an infection.  
 
Please watch this video we made about the precautionary steps taken by our office. It is important to note that this video was filmed in our office at 3:45 pm on a Tuesday. Notice how quiet the waiting room and hallways are!  
 
We are starting to become concerned about unintended consequences of the good and safe social distancing practices our community has embraced. It is essential to maintain immunizations on time, as well as to avoid any gaps in care, both routine care and care to monitor important medical problems. It is critical that medical care is not delayed during this time.  
 
We want to remind you NAP is still open 7 days a week to see patients both for sick visits and for selected well check-ups as recommended by the AAP. Any visit, whether medical or behavioral health, that can be done virtually as a tele-health visit, we will set up through our MyChart patient portal. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment or to sign up for our patient portal.

 


May 6, 2020  Testing

Dear NAP Families,
With the help of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, we now have the ability to test your child for COVID-19 and determine if your child is infected with the coronavirus.

Who: We are testing children who have symptoms consistent with the infection which include fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, nasal congestion/runny nose, and difficulty smelling,

Why: Most children have mild symptoms and recover without ever knowing they were infected and therefore do not need testing.  In some situations, however, it is helpful to know that your child actually has COVID-19. For example, it might influence how long they stay isolated from other family members who might need to work or have health conditions that place them at higher risk of complications from the infection.

What to do: If your child is sick with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 and you think a test could be helpful, please call our office at (413) 584-8700. We feel that an evaluation of your child’s symptoms is important before any test is performed to help make sure their symptoms are appropriately managed. We will make an appointment with a provider via tele-health or in the office to help decide how to treat your child and if a test is indicated.

Where: We can do evaluations through tele-health or in a separate area of our office. If during the tele-health visit it is determined a test is indicated, we can arrange for a nasal swab to be performed in our parking lot without coming into the office.

Types of tests:  The test that determines if a person has a current infection is a nasal swab. This tests for actual particles of the virus. We usually get the results back in 1 to 2 days.
A blood test can determine if you have been infected at some point in the past. This is an antibody test. The reliability and availability of antibody tests is still uncertain. We are hopeful that within the next several weeks we will be able to get such a blood test and understand the implications for having had the infection in the past but currently we are not able to get the blood test done at our local hospitals.


May 4, 2020  IBH Message

Dear NAP Families,
During this time of uncertainty and change, our Behavioral Health team appreciates the ability to continue supporting our NAP community through virtual visits. Helping families navigate the challenges associated with social distancing, at home learning, emerging family dynamics and the emotional effects of Coronavirus is a priority. We are expanding our behavioral health services at this time to offer families a one-time consultation focused on creating consistency and routine at home, decreasing power struggles and conflicts, helping parents find and restore life balance while promoting resiliency in children and families. This one time session will focus on providing parents with education, resources and tools to help navigate problems areas that are coming up in this unique time. 
Using our virtual visit platform through MyChart, we are able to support your family in a number of different areas during this consultation time including:
·        How to create a daily routine at home.
·        Gain better balance between work and at home learning demands
·        Decrease conflicts over screen time
·        Support teens who are isolating more
·        Manage parental stress and find time for self care
·        How to avoid power struggles throughout the day
·        Find ways to support your child’s emotional needs
 
Our Integrated Behavioral Health team continues to work closely with your Provider to ensure continuity of care. We see this as an opportunity to help families channel their strengths to maintain and build skills for managing life during this pandemic. If you would like to schedule a one time consultation, please call our office at 413-584-8700 and let our staff know you are interested in a “Family Support Consultation Hour.” 
Know that you are not alone, we are in this together.
 
Sincerely,
Your Behavioral Health Team: Meg Colenback, LICSW; Jaime Moore, LMHC & Amanda Rilla, LMHC

 


April 15, 2020  Helpful Links

The Northampton Public Health Director has recently ordered all customers and employees of businesses that are still operating, to use masks when social distancing is not possible. To comply with this order we are asking that all people entering our office, please wear a mask. Children who are less than 2 and those who can not maintain a mask on their face, or have breathing issues, are excluded from this order. If you do not have a mask for yourself or your child, we will provide you with one when you check into the office. We realize that keeping a mask on a child is very challenging. Below is an article that explains why masks are important, and gives some helpful hints on how to get a child to wear a mask.  

Should Young Children Wear Masks?


We are receiving many questions about this new virus and how to handle the new parenting challenges it brings with it. Here is an example of some of those questions.  My teenager does not understand the importance of social distancing, what can I do? My children have two households, how can I handle the different approaches to co-parenting? How can we safely spend time outdoors and still keep social distancing?  Below are links to the American Academy of Pediatrics answers to these questions and many more. 
General Information
2019 Novel Coronavirus 

Social Distancing
• Social Distancing: Why Keeping Your Distance Helps Keep Others Safe   
• Getting Children Outside While Social Distancing for COVID-19
Cloth Face Coverings for Children During COVID-19

Parenting and Home
• Working and Learning from Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak  
• Positive Parenting & COVID-19: 10 Tips to Help Keep the Calm at Home  
• Simple Ways to Entertain & Boost Your Baby's Development at Home 
Tips for Coping with a New Baby During COVID-19 
COVID-19: Information for Families of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs   
• Co-parenting During COVID-19

Breastfeeding and Formula
Ask the Pediatrician: Are There Shortages of Infant Formula Due to COVID-19? 
• Breastfeeding During COVID-19 Pandemic

Teenagers
Teens & COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities During the Outbreak

 


April 7, 2020
 
We hope that our patients and families are continuing to stay safe and healthy by following state and national recommendations on physical/social distancing.  Families should stay at home as much as possible, venture out only for essential items (e.g. food, medication) and wear mask-type covering in public.
 
Telehealth
We are seeing a large number of patients via tele-health. These appointments are done through the MyChart patient portal with a video connection through the Zoom app. Be sure to contact us if you are not set up with these yet. We want to make sure every patient is ready to go in case the need for a virtual visit appointment arises. We are now doing well child visits (for those insurances that allow) through tele-health too. We will send you questionnaires to complete ahead of time, and ask that you measure your child (height, weight) at home in time for the visit if at all possible.
 
In-office Visits
For those visits that require an in person visit, our Northampton office is fully functional, open 7 days a week, and has a separate entrance and enclosed area for those patients who have fever or respiratory symptoms. 
 
What about my sneezing and itchy eyes?
We are very happy to see some color on the trees, indicating the beginning of spring. Unfortunately, along with spring some patients experience allergy symptoms. Those symptoms might be confused with symptoms caused by respiratory viruses like coronavirus. Below is a chart that might help you tell the difference between allergies, colds, the flu, and COVID-19. If your child is having these types of symptoms and you want more advice on how to treat them, please call our office and a provider can help you determine the best treatment.  Printable symptom chart.

Food Safety
Many people have asked us during this pandemic about the safety of food. Here is an article that gives clear advice about purchasing, preparing and ordering food during these times.  
Food Safety and Coronavirus


March 28, 2020

IMPORTANT CHANGES AT NORTHAMPTON AREA PEDIATRICS
NAP is adapting to a rapidly changing world in the COVID-19 era.
Northampton Area Pediatrics is committed to providing pediatric medical and behavioral health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are open at the office, available by MyChart portal or telephone, and actively scheduling as many visits as possible as “telehealth” care for both medical and behavioral health concerns.

Operations
EFFECTIVE MONDAY MARCH 30, 2020:
-The NAP Amherst office will CLOSE temporarily
-NAP Northampton office will remain open 7 days a week with new hours
Monday – Friday 8AM – 6PM
Saturday, Sunday, Holidays 10AM -3PM

Provider availability
To protect our providers and staff during the time when local prevalence of COVID-19 is increasing, we are limiting the amount of time each is present in the office. Effective Monday, March 30, our providers will be rotating in and out of the office on a weekly basis. All providers will continue to be available for telehealth, MyChart, and telephone regardless of whether they are at the office or not. We value the relationship between you and your primary care provider [PCP] and will make every effort to have your PCP address your needs.  

Telehealth
We have expanded telehealth care rapidly in recent weeks. While the platform is new, we have found we can get an amazing amount accomplished for our patients using this new technology, and you can anticipate receiving the same quality of care you have come to expect from NAP. 

Beginning next week, we have been given approval (some insurances only, for now) to do well visit check-ups via telehealth. We will be reaching out to get these scheduled as soon as we can create scheduling capacity.  

MyChart Portal
Remember that telehealth visits are done via MyChart and Zoom app. The MyChart portal is an essential tool for working with NAP now during the pandemic and into the future. It is a secure platform not only for telehealth, but also for messaging with the office [including sending pictures and videos], reviewing results and growth curves, requesting refills, updating medical and family history, completing questionnaires, getting copies of health forms and letters, and more.

If you are not enrolled in My Chart, contact our office and we will walk you through the activation process (it takes < 5 minutes)—and we will try to have you set up the Zoom app as well so you are “telehealth ready”.

In-office visits
• We are seeing children with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 in a designated space that is physically separated and has a separate entrance. 
• We are seeing other important visits that need in-person evaluation through the main entrance. These include injuries, [COVID-screen negative] sick visits, selected medication rechecks and behavioral health visits, and essential well-check visits as recommended by the AAP.
• We have enhanced cleaning protocols (disinfecting the waiting room every 1 to 2 hours, wiping down surfaces such as the credit card machines, seats, fish-tank, door knobs/handles, coat rack knobs, etc., and even writing materials). 

New capability for text messaging
We are pleased to announce that NAP now can send appointment reminders and other messages via text. This function is not HIPAA compliant so we will not be using it for clinical information. While it is possible to reply to texts from us, you will not be able to reach us via text at our regular numbers (use the MyChart portal instead). You will start seeing text messages for scheduled appointments now, and over time we will work with you to refine your communications preferences so we can be sure to reach you in the ways you prefer. Before long, we will send out more detailed information about texting and instructions on customizing communication preferences.

DEPARTURES
Turbulent times can bring unfortunate changes. It is with sadness that we let you know that some of the familiar faces at NAP are no longer working with us, staff and providers included. These are cherished colleagues, recent additions and some long-term team members among them. As I am sure you can sense, NAP at its best is like a big family, and this is a particularly painful moment for us.
In particular, we need to let you know that three providers are no longer at NAP: Beth Shaine PNP, Kate Kelly FNP, and Amy Case MD. We know that many of you have received their excellent care, and some of you have entrusted your children to them as PCPs. We have re-assigned their responsibilities and designated patients to other providers. If you wish, you can let us know if you prefer a certain provider as a new PCP.  And if you would like to send Kate, Amy or Beth a message, pictures, etc., we will be sure to forward them on.  Send them to contactus@napeds.com


March 26, 2020
 
NAP is fully functioning. 
-All potential visits to the office are pre-screened for any COVID symptoms or exposure
-We are seeing children with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 in designated space that is physically separated and has a separate entrance. 
-We are seeing other important visits that need in-person evaluation
[COVID-screen negative] sick visits (today that meant lacerations and sutures, ankle sprains, migraine headaches and more)
medication re-check appointments
behavioral health
essential well-check visits as recommended by the AAP
-In order to make our office as safe as possible we have enhanced cleaning protocols (disinfecting the waiting room every 1 to 2 hours, wiping down surfaces such as the credit card machines, seats, fish-tank, door knobs/handles, coat rack knobs, etc., and even writing materials). 
-We continue to support the concept of social distancing as the best way to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but also acknowledge that visits to our office are sometimes necessary to provide the best care for your child. We are doing whatever we can to make those visits as safe as possible.  
 
Telemedicine
We have vastly expanded our capabilities of providing Tele-Medicine. If you would like to have an appointment over the phone or via video link, please send us a MyChart message or call our office to determine if such a visit would be appropriate. 

REMEMBER TELEHEALTH VISITS
Are secure
Need access to the MyChart portal and the Zoom app—SIGN UP NOW!

Social Distancing Stars

Our area and state are doing a great job in social distancing. See the link and map below that shows how well we are doing and how other areas are doing as well. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
 
Social Distancing Scoreboard


March 23, 2020

MA State Advisory on Stay-at-home, Non-essential Business Closure
We agree with the recent Massachusetts statewide recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closing non-essential business and encouraging people to stay at home.  Our services at NAP are considered essential and we will remain open for children who are sick, and for certain well check up appointments. We are following the AAP guidelines and will see well check ups for those children less than 2 years old and for those physicals that require immunizations, such at 4,5 and 11 year olds.  

We are now conducting many types of visits via Telehealth. If you would like your visit to be done via telehealth please contact our office at (413) 584-8700. 

Playdates
We are updating our recommendations on play dates. We are strongly recommending that children not visit other children outside the immediate family. Under current conditions, the best way for us to slow down the spread of this virus is to stay at home.  


March 22, 2020

INTRODUCING TELEHEALTH
AT NORTHAMPTON AREA PEDIATRICS

We are very pleased to announce that NAP has successfully implemented and piloted telehealth visits in the past week. All the NAP providers now can do these video virtual visits using secure technology enabled through the MyChart patient portal. We are now ready to open this service more generally. In the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic and “social distancing”, this will be an invaluable tool for us to continue providing pediatric medical care and behavioral health services while reducing the need for you to come to our office.

Telehealth points to remember:
1) PLEASE BEAR WITH US. This is a brand-new capability that involves major operational changes. We will be actively converting appropriate existing appointments to telehealth visits, revamping provider schedules to do this work, and building the capacity to make sure you have the at-home tools to complete a telehealth encounter.

2) Telehealth visit require access to the MyChart portal (parent/proxy for ages 0-12, patient for ages 13+). Visits are best done on a smartphone or tablet but can also be done on video-capable computer. The “Zoom” app provides the secure video-conferencing interface.

3) Not all visits can be telehealth visits.  
a. Visits that we intend to do as telehealth encounters include medication rechecks, conferences, behavioral health, simple “sick” visits such as rashes, other rechecks that do not require physical examination
b. Visits that cannot be done via telehealth are those that require physical examination (for example ear or breathing rechecks), testing, or treatments.

4) Under COVID-19 circumstances, we intend to push as many encounters as possible from in-person to virtual encounters. This means that some important work such as vital signs, growth measurements, etc. may need to be deferred. Longer term we will need to re-balance to make sure that those important functions are restored.

If you would like to set up a telehealth visit, call the office at 413-584-8700 and select option 1 for Appointments—we will try our best to accommodate you directly, but we may need to verify if a telehealth visit is appropriate and build a telehealth slot as our schedules are changing rapidly. Better yet, if you are on MyChart already, use it to request an appointment or send us a message.  

If you are not yet on MyChart, call us to activate your account as soon as possible. MyChart is required for telehealth encounters and will be an essential tool for us to communicate with you effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 


March 19, 2020

This is the most common question we have received over the last 24 hours.

Q: My child is sick and might have the coronavirus. I have heard it could be dangerous to give her ibuprofen. Is that true?

A: We have researched this question and agree with Dr. Fauci from the CDC: there is no solid evidence showing it is dangerous to take ibuprofen when infected with the coronavirus. If you are still concerned, it is fine to take acetaminophen instead, since both do a good job in reducing fever and pain, but we don’t feel you need to avoid ibuprofen. This is a good opportunity to remind our parents that all fevers do not need to be treated. In fact, a fever might help the body fight off infection. The main reason we recommend treating fevers in children who are sick is to help them feel more comfortable. If your child has a fever but is happy and reasonably comfortable, then we don’t feel you need to give them any medication.


March 18, 2020
 
The most common question we are getting is --when will we be able to test for COVID-19 in our area? We still do not have the test available. Below is the most recent information from Cooley Dickinson Hospital:
 
PLANS FOR TESTING CLINIC
• First, the testing situation remains unchanged. Testing for COVID-19 is still extremely limited. This is true throughout most of the nation. Locally, all health care organizations – including Cooley Dickinson – are applying strict criteria for those who get tested.

• In anticipation of testing becoming more widely available in the coming days and weeks, we are planning for a testing clinic site.

• More information will be available in the coming days.

 
Telehealth and MyChart Portal
We are working very hard to have tele-health abilities and hope to have that available in the next few days. If you are signed up for our MyChart portal, it will make tele-health more accessible. We anticipate that communicating through the MyChart portal will be essential over the coming weeks and months for tele-health visits, refills and communicating with your provider.

If you have not yet signed up for MyChart, please email contactus@napeds.com. You will then get a phone call to set up your portal connection.  


March 17, 2020

NAP is continuing to see sick patients with fever and respiratory symptoms in our Amherst office. Our Northampton office is seeing all other visits including other sick visits and well visits. We are working very hard and hope to have tele-health ability in the near future so we can see some of these visits without your coming to our office. You will hear more about this in the next few days.  

Below is an answer to the most frequently asked question of the day.

Q: My child is sick with a cough and fever. How do I know if they have COVID-19 and what should I do? Can I get them tested? 
 
A: We are very fortunate that few children who get this infection end up having serious disease. The most important question is how sick is your child?  If you feel you can manage this at home, meaning they are not in distress, working hard to breath, and is able to drink fluids, then the very best thing is to stay home and make them comfortable with the usual care for a cold or flu. We are trying to reduce exposures by having children stay at home who do not need medical attention. If you are not sure, then please call our office and we can help you determine if they need to be seen. We are seeing children with fever and respiratory symptoms in our Amherst office. 

As of March 17th, unless your child is sick enough to be in the hospital, we are not able to get testing done in our area. This is still being limited by the Commonwealth and we cannot get the testing materials. We will keep you updated and promptly notify you when this changes.  

Because we don’t have testing available, we are assuming that COVID-19 has already been in our community and that many children with cold and flu symptoms do indeed have the disease.  It is important that we all continue social distancing and that children stay away from those people, like the elderly and immune-compromised, who are most vulnerable. 

Here is also a link to more detailed information on how to treat your child with a possible COVID-19 infection and how to self-isolate:
 
SELF-ISOLATION INSTRUCTIONS from Baystate Medical Center Emergency Department

Here is information directed specifically to your teenagers:

MESSAGE TO TEENS


March 16, 2020 

We are rapidly receiving new information and updating our recommendations on COVID-19 based on guidance from the state, CDC and Boston Children’s Hospital among others. We encourage you to give us feedback and ask other questions so we can be of more help to you and your families.  Feel free to e-mail us your questions via our website or your patient portal. We will do our best to answer them with what we currently know about this infection.   

Now that school is closed for at least 3 weeks – Is it ok for my child to hang out with a friend at our house or at their house (assuming no-one appears sick)?
People have understood us as saying casual playdates are okay, and that is not the case.  We are frequently being asked, what do I do with our kids?  Staying apart from one another (social distancing) continues to be the most important thing that we can do to avoid spreading the virus. 
We have the following clarified recommendations:
 1. Staying home and avoiding playdates is best, if you can.

 2. We recognize that complete avoidance is sometimes impossible, for example if parents need to work, or a child is truly struggling with  social isolation.   If you absolutely must cross-cover child care or arrange a “playdate”
a. limit it to one or two other children
b. focus on being outdoors, doing activities where you can be apart (e.g. bike riding or hiking)
c. avoid seeing multiple friends over multiple days-- if you can identify a close friend and you are all healthy it is reasonable to get ogether with them (practicing the above precautions)
d. wash or sanitize your hands frequently

3. Certainly if anyone is showing any sign of illness they should isolate and avoid others. Many children will have very mild symptoms (and it is likely that the virus can be spread before significant symptoms arise) so if there is any question that your child has symptoms or if it possible that any of you have been exposed to the virus, you should stay at home and self-isolate.

Is it ok for older grandparents to see my child?
While children often have mild disease, this coronavirus can cause very severe illness in the elderly. Since testing is limited and it may be hard to tell if a child is affected, we would recommend avoiding direct contact with older relatives for now (but Skype and Facetime are ok and encouraged!)

Is it ok to go to a park and play at a playground in the open air?
Being in the open air and running around is great. However, we would suggest that you not participate in large group activities. Try to limit it to just one or two other children. Choose activities where children are less clustered together, and wash hands when finished using common equipment e.g. play-structures. If more kids are at the playground, then another time would be better-- early morning and later evening visits might be less crowded.

Is it ok for our kids to go on bike rides or a hike with friends (assuming no-one appears sick)?
Exercise is a great way to stay healthy and helps our immune systems. Yes go for bike rides and hikes but limit it to just one or two children and make sure they do not have symptoms of a respiratory illness.

Should we relax the rules regarding the number of hours of online gaming – so at least social segregation isn’t as much of an issue and they can talk to their friends?
There is a time and a place for exceptions to the rule. This is a reasonable time to allow your child more than your usual limits on screen time especially if it can allow them to interact with their friends on-line. Even better, It is a good opportunity to spend more time with your children doing those activities that you enjoy together like reading, projects or playing a board game together. (if playing a board game, remember to wash your hands frequently.)

Is it ok to order take out from restaurants/delivery?
Take-out is fine. The virus is not thought to be transmitted through food. Remember to wash your hands after picking up bags or boxes from an outside facility.

Do you recommend avoiding dining out?
In Massachusetts, this is no longer an option as all restaurants are closed to dine-in patrons for the next three weeks in an attempt to limit exposure to the virus. Take out is ok.

Do you recommend avoiding going to a movie theater?
Movie theaters have a large number of people who are close together. This is a perfect place for a virus to spread. For now it is best to avoid theaters, concerts, plays, sporting events and other such gatherings.

Are swimming pools, like the YMCA, ok to use?
There is nothing concerning about swimming pools as long as there are only a couple people in it and you are not close to them. Since that is not likely, we would not recommend using public pools.

I hear a lot about testing. Are you performing the test in the office and if not, where can I get my child tested?
There has been much talk about testing in the media and at times you are probably hearing conflicting information. We do not have any abilities to test for this virus in our office. Locally, Cooley Dickinson Hospital is doing very limited testing, mostly just on patients who are hospitalized. We are told that it is still a week or more away until our area gets more testing available but this may change.

 


March 15, 2020

To the families of Northampton Area Pediatrics, 

We recognize that during this time when COVID-19 is likely to spread in our community, many of you will have questions regarding things that are safe to do with your child, and things you should avoid. We would like to answer those questions for you. Not all infectious disease experts would answer these questions in the same exact way, but through our research and experience we hope to provide reasonable guidelines for you to use to make decisions. The answers may change as we learn more about the virus and its activity within our community, and we will update answers accordingly. 
 
Below are some questions we have been asked with our current responses. Feel free to message us with more questions and we will do our best to answer them.  

Frequently Asked Questions:
Questions about “social distancing”
 
Now that school is closed for at least 2 weeks – Is it ok for my child to hang out with a friend at our house or at their house (assuming no-one appears sick)?
We currently do not recommend complete isolation. It is very reasonable for your children to have play dates, but we would suggest limiting it to one or two children who are not showing any signs of illness. We would discourage parties, trips to the mall, and gatherings of larger groups of kids. We would recommend frequent breaks for hand washing. 

Is it ok to go to a park and play at a playground in the open air?
Being in the open air and running around is great. However, we would suggest that you not participate in large group activities. Try to limit it to just one or two other children. Choose activities where children are less clustered together, and wash hands when finished using common equipment e.g. play-structures. If more kids are at the playground, then another time would be better-- early morning and later evening visits might be less crowded. 

Is it ok for our kids to go on bike rides or a hike with friends (assuming no-one appears sick)?
Exercise is a great way to stay healthy and helps our immune systems. Yes, go for bike rides and hikes but limit it to just one or two children and make sure they do not have symptoms of a respiratory illness. 
 
Should we relax the rules regarding the number of hours of online gaming – so at least social segregation isn’t as much of an issue and they can talk to their friends?
There is a time and a place for exceptions to the rule. This is a reasonable time to allow your child more than your usual limits on screen time especially if it can allow them to interact with their friends on-line. Even better, It is a good opportunity to spend more time with your children doing those activities that you enjoy together like reading, projects or playing a board game together. (if playing a board game, remember to wash you hands frequently.)

Is it ok to order take out from restaurants/delivery?
Take-out is fine. The virus is not thought to be transmitted through food. Remember to wash your hands after picking up bags or boxes from an outside facility.  
 
Do you recommend avoiding dining out?
This is a tough question since experts do not all agree on the answer. The virus is mostly transmitted via droplets from another person who is within 3 to 6 feet from you. If you can be in a public place that has tables that are far apart then that might be reasonable. However, most younger kids get up and walk around so if you have younger kids then we would recommend take out. 

Do you recommend avoiding going to a movie theater (assuming they remain open)?
Movie theaters have a large number of people who are close together. This is a perfect place for a virus to spread. For now it is best to avoid theaters, concerts, plays, sporting events and other such gatherings. 

Are swimming pools, like the YMCA, ok to use (assuming they remain open)?
There is nothing concerning about swimming pools as long as there are only a couple people in it and you are not close to them. Since that is not likely, we would not recommend using public pools. 

I hear a lot about testing. Are you performing the test in the office and if not, where can I get my child tested? 
There has been much talk about testing in the media and at times you are probably hearing conflicting information. We do not have any abilities to test for this virus in our office. Locally, Cooley Dickinson Hospital is doing very limited testing, mostly just on patients who are hospitalized. We are told that it is still a week or more away until our area gets more testing available, but this may change.  

Blog for Parents

We recommend this blog by Sarah Abel, LICSW for those who need extra comfort in these stressful times.
Please click the link Parenting in a Time of Anxiety


March 13, 2020

In order to minimize the chance of exposure to COVID-19 and still take care of your children's medical needs, we are establishing a separate space where children with symptoms of respiratory illness can be evaluated, leaving the main office space for well visits and children with non-respiratory problems. 

Starting Monday, March 16, NAP will be establishing several new changes to help minimize risk.

  • 8am to 8:30am Walk-In Urgent Care is now CANCELLED in both offices.
  •  All visits with respiratory symptoms will be seen in our Amherst office, Monday through Friday, 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm. The Amherst office will be used exclusively for this type of visit.
  • On nights and weekends, sick visits with respiratory symptoms will be seen in our Northampton office, Monday through Friday, 5pm to 8pm, weekends 9am to 5pm. There will be a separate entrance for these visits. We have a VIP Entrance (yellow door) which is to the right at the back of the building. There is also designated VIP parking.
  • Our Northampton office will remain open for all other visits (without respiratory symptoms) during our usual office hours, Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm.
  • Only one parent and the sick child should come into the office whenever possible, for any type of visit.
  • All patients and their family will be asked screening questions at the time of check-in even if they were asked on the phone during scheduling.
  • Appointments currently booked in the Amherst office will be rescheduled, if needed. We will start the rescheduling process starting tomorrow.

As the COVID-19 situation changes, we will determine if our protocols need to be updated.

We have had an increase in calls, so please be patient when calling our office. We encourage non-urgent requests to be done via the MyChart Patient Portal. Please email contactus@napeds.com to register for an account, if you do not have one yet.
 

CANCELLATIONS at NAP Offices
NAP Event Status:

  • ADHD Parent Support Group (1st Monday of every month) - at this time, April and May are definitely cancelled. Please contact Meg at ValleyADHDfamilies@gmail.com with any questions.
  • Breastfeeding Support Group (Northampton office on Thursday nights and Amherst on Wednesday mornings) cancelled indefinitely. Please contact Kate by calling our office at (413) 584-8700 or through the MyChart Patient Portal by addressing her in a general question.
  • NAP Parenting Workshops (one Sunday a month) - These have not been cancelled yet. We have 3 more workshops in the series on April 19, May 3, June 7.

March 11, 2020

COVID-19 Upate

Today the World Health Organization has officially declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. While there have been no official cases in our area, that is likely to change in the near future. The good news is that children with the disease continue to show mostly mild symptoms of fever, cough, and runny nose.  

NAP is working very hard to develop protocols so we can continue to see patients who need to be seen for sick visits and at the same time maintain a safe environment for those patients coming in for routine physicals and other non-sick visits. We will be asking you questions prior to your visit in order to maintain that safe environment.  We are working with the Department of Public Health and those protocols will continue to change as new information comes in. 

If your child is sick with a fever, runny nose or cough, and can be managed at home, this will help reduce the spread of any infection. If your child needs medical attention, we will continue to be here for you.  

We are also working with Boston Children’s Hospital to provide the latest updates and accurate information about this virus. Please check out the following link.

http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/c/coronavirus

Since many children will be hearing about the coronavirus epidemic, they may have many questions and worries about their own or your health. Here is a link to some good information on how to help them with these worries. 

https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=READ%20MORE&utm_campaign=Weekly-03-03-20

As you have already heard, but we can’t say it enough--Please wash your hands as frequently as possible.  

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/stop-the-spread-of-germs.pdf


March 9, 2020

NAP Guideline and Protocols for Coronavirus (Covid -19)
We would like our patients and families to know about NAP’s policies and preparations for a possible coronavirus outbreak in our community. Coronaviruses have been around for decades and usually cause common cold- and flu-like symptoms. 
Covid-19 is a new coronavirus that was first discovered in China and is now spreading throughout the world.  

The good news is that in the pediatric population, Covid-19 has almost exclusively caused mild symptoms. Unfortunately, there are many unanswered questions regarding if and when this virus will come to our area and how many people might be infected if and when it does arrive.  

To prepare for every eventuality, we have implemented the following protocols to ensure your visit to our office is as safe as possible, and at the same time that we are taking the best care of those patients who might have this disease and need medical care.  

If you call our office for a sick appointment you will be asked a few simple screening questions regarding travel, possible exposure to Covid-19, and symptoms. Answering these questions will help us determine if we should have you enter the office through a different door to reduce the exposure to our other patients. 
While we are always available to see your sick children, we may recommend that you stay home with your child who does not need medical attention.  
Testing for this virus is determined solely by the Department of Public Health and we will contact them to get instructions if testing is indicated.  

We want to emphasize that a vast majority of children infected with Covid-19 will likely be able to be treated at home in the same manner that you currently treat children with common respiratory ailments.
  
NAP has created a team of physicians, nurses and clerical staff that is meeting daily and will change this policy if new information suggests changes should be made. Please feel free to call or message our office through the patient portal if you have further questions regarding your child’s health or the potential spread of this virus. We are here to help you.
  
Below are some useful links that provide up to date and accurate information:  

http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/c/coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx
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Flu and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness

We are working closely with our area hospitals (Boston Children's Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Hospital and Baystate Medical Center) and the Massachusetts Department of Health, to come up with improved protocols.

Steps we have taken....

Trained our staff on prevention techniques
Educate our staff about symptoms and risks
Educate our staff on identification of staff and patients with symptoms and/or risks
Implemented a contingency plan if the status changes
Retrained our employees on basic infection control practices
Increased the number of hand sanitizers and tissues for easy access throughout the offices
While our exam rooms are always disinfected between patients, we have implemented a plan to increase disinfecting the surface areas in our non-clinical areas - the waiting rooms, check-in/check-out and entry ways

The Importance of MyChart Patient Portal

Our providers prefer to use the MyChart Patient Portal to communicate with our patients and their families. This method is easy, direct and connects with our medical records system. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, we encourage more families to sign up for the portal. In the future, the portal will be used for important group message alerts and possibly telemedicine.  There are exciting things happening with the portal coming soon!

The portal allows you to:

Have access to all children with one log-in
Get access for multiple parents
Send documents, photos and videos to NAP
Print school and camp forms from home 
Complete questionnaires online before your visit
Persons requesting access must be the legal guardian of the patient. Please email contactus@napeds.com or call us at 413-584-8700 with the following information about you (the legal guardian):

1. Name of person requesting access
2. Date of birth (of legal guardian)
3. Zip code
4. Email address
5. Full names of your children with their date of births
you need access to

 

 

Questions or Comments?
We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest about our services.