Hello NAP Families,
As we get ready to close out this year – hopefully with some fun festivities and much needed relaxation for all of you! – we wanted to send along a few quick reminders and updates. As you are well aware, many respiratory viruses continue to circulate such as RSV, influenza (the “flu”), and of course Covid. If you have not already received your flu and Covid vaccines please consider doing so before traveling or getting together with families who may inadvertently be bringing more than presents to your gatherings. Frequent hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing, wearing a mask, and staying home when feeling ill are also still strongly recommended. Most of these illnesses do not require specific treatment but if your child is at high risk (under 2 years of age or with chronic lung or immune issues) please contact our office early in the illness so we can determine the best course of action to keep them safe. Please remember we still have virtual visit availability for a child who does not need a hands on exam. This is a great option for families who need school excuse notes from our providers for a child who has recovered from an illness but needed to miss a few days of school.
With these illnesses, there is always a chance of a secondary bacterial infection, such as an ear infection, developing. Signs of this typically are fever, tugging at the ears, increased irritability, and difficulty sleeping. However, these same symptoms can also be caused by an irritated ear drum or having a build up of clear fluid behind the ear drum (see pictures below if you’re curious what we see!). When a child is examined in the office, each provider makes sure to determine the cause of the pain in that moment. Just because an ear infection is not seen one day does not mean it cannot develop later, even within a few hours of a previous exam! We know this is frustrating but there is no way to prevent this. Children with fluid in their ears often do not develop an ear infection, which is why antibiotics are not prescribed for all children with colds and ear fluid. Please always let us know if your child’s symptoms are worsening or not improving in a few days so we can check them again if needed.
With so many kids being sick at the same time, pharmacies are having trouble keeping liquid antibiotics in stock. For now, we have decided to print a prescription instead of calling it in to a particular pharmacy so that if your usual pharmacy is out of the antibiotic prescribed, you can bring the paper prescription to a different pharmacy to have it filled. We hope the supply issues will be resolved soon!
Another class of medication that is in short supply currently is stimulants for ADHD. If your child takes this kind of medication and they need a refill, please call your pharmacy to make sure they have the medication in stock and, if they do not, call other local pharmacies to see where the refill can be sent. You can then contact our office with this information. This will help prevent a delay in the refills.
Finally, with such a busy sick season, we are still working our hardest to reply to your phone calls, portal messages, and refill requests as quickly as possible. We have increased staffing for our nurse triage team and hired someone dedicated to completing forms needed by our families. Our night nurse team is also working on a new strategy to make sure urgent needs get addressed in a timely manner. They will be starting to prioritize calls that need immediate attention. If you are waiting for a call back and your child’s condition worsens, please call the night nurse line again with this update so they can take that information into consideration. We thank you for your ongoing patience as we try to survive this unprecedented onslaught of illness!
We hope you all have a lovely holiday season surrounded by loving friends and family,
Northampton Area Pediatrics