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Spring has Sprung!

March 31, 2022

Hello NAP families,

We hope you have been enjoying the longer days, warmer temperatures, and subtle signs of spring starting to show all around as we leave a long, cold winter behind us. We are starting to let our thoughts drift towards the joys of summer and want to be ready to help your family prepare to all the season has to offer!

Many children plan to attend summer camps and, as you know, these camps often require forms to be completed by their healthcare office. Our nursing team gets hundreds of these forms each year and do an amazing job completing them as quickly as they can. We ask that you give our office a minimum of two weeks to complete any camp or sports forms, and that you complete as much of the form as possible before submitting it to our office. Forms that are blank or simply state the child’s name without other fields completed will be returned to you with a request that you fill in the appropriate information (address, phone number, emergency contacts, etc). This may cause a delay in having the form ready for your child’s activity so please make sure to have your portion done ahead of time. Of course, the sooner you can get us these forms, the sooner we can have them back to you!

The summer is also a great time to get your child’s annual well visit scheduled. We have recently opened our schedule for a full 13 months to allow for advanced booking of this appointment. Scheduling this visit now will ensure that you can book with your primary care provider (PCP) and that you are able to be seen before the start of the school year. Each fall, we get a rush of calls about children who need an “urgent” physical so that they can participate in sports. We are not always able to accommodate these last minute requests as quickly as the family would like, so we are asking all of you to think ahead and book now! You can make this appointment directly through the MyChart portal, or by calling our main number and speaking with our appointment staff. If you have not already selected a PCP, please look at our website for provider pictures and bios to help you make that important decision. The annual well visit is a great time for you and your child to get to know their chosen PCP and to ensure that any information about your child’s health in the following year is directed to this provider. It also allows the PCP to understand any chronic issues your child may have and be able to follow along with you as you work to find the best management plan.

Of course, we can’t have an email from NAP without a quick mention about Covid-19. We have all been relieved to see the Omicron surge pass, but there are still cases of Covid circulating in our area at low levels. If you or anyone in your family has a Covid exposure, or a diagnosis of a Covid infection, you may find a new CDC online tool helpful to determine the appropriate next steps. This calculator allows you to input details of your specific situation and gives appropriate guidance on the need for, and length of, quarantine and isolation.

Finally, one last reminder that flu season is not over, and in fact may just be beginning. In past years, it has not been uncommon to have a flu “spike” in March and April. This year may prove no exception, especially as masks are coming off and people are circulating a bit more freely. There has been an increase in cases of influenza diagnosed across the country over the past week, including in Massachusetts. If your child has not yet been vaccinated for the flu it is not too late to do so. Please call our office to discuss scheduling a flu vaccine appointment or visit your local pharmacy or grocery store to receive a flu shot free of cost.

Here’s to many sunny days ahead!

Northampton Area Pediatrics