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Celebrate at Home this Holiday

Celebrate at Home this Holiday

This year, the safest way to celebrate is to celebrate at home. COVID-19 cases are surging across the country, with hospitalizations and the daily death toll higher than ever before. Our hospital systems are under immense strain and experts predict things will worsen in the winter months. With this in mind, we urge you to rethink your usual holiday celebrations in order to save lives.

This year, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. Traveling, and gathering with friends and family who do not live with you, can increase the risk of getting and spreading the virus. So, how can we make the holidays special for our little ones without the merry gathering? We’ve got a few ideas!

Fun Ways to Celebrate At Home During COVID-19

Head outdoors.

Get festive with outdoor activities such as ice skating, christmas light viewing, or a nice hike. Just remember to keep your distance and wear your mask around others.

Exchange meals, gifts, and treats.

Give and receive your favorite holiday dishes, cookies, and gifts with friends and family via contactless drop-offs and pick-ups. Make your own or support a local small business.

Get creative with cooking and crafts.

Cook up that cozy feeling with homemade hot cocoa and festive cookies. You can bake a pie or build a gingerbread house. Need more ideas? Try making ornaments or holiday cards. Decorating the house together can also be fun.

Settle in for a movie marathon.

Cozy up by the fireplace, or build an epic blanket fort, and stream your favorite holiday flicks.

We hope these tips help you find ways to celebrate at home. Stay safe and healthy! We’re here if your child needs medical care.

Halloween in the Time of COVID-19

Halloween in the Time of COVID-19

For many kids (and adults!), Halloween is a highly anticipated holiday full of friends, frights, and, of course, treats. However, as Halloween approaches this year, many families are reconsidering their annual traditions in the face of a global pandemic. With the safety of gathering for parties or trick or treating in question, we’ve come up with some ideas to make the holiday extra special – and safe – for the entire family.

Keep it clean, keep it distanced

Many of the same common sense health safety tips we use every day apply on Halloween: Wash hands frequently, maintain social distancing, and carry hand sanitizer.

Incorporate your mask into your costume

With so many retailers now selling masks, you can find a mask to match almost any costume! Or, you can purchase simple white masks and let your kids decorate them with fabric pens (paint isn’t recommended, as it can make the mask less breathable). Or try tie-dye for a colorful alternative.

Have a virtual costume party with friends and family

You can dress up, make halloween treats, and meet your friends and family on Zoom for a virtual party. Host a costume contest with virtual prizes, such as gift cards.

Have a Halloween scavenger hunt in your own house or yard

If you plan to stay home on Halloween, consider coming up with a candy scavenger hunt – hide treats all around your house or yard and let your little ghost or goblin loose to find it all. They’ll get the thrill of collecting candy without having to leave home!

Trick or Treat safely

If you live in an area with lower COVID rates, or if you are comfortable with trick or treating, you might still be heading out to knock on doors, or you may be manning the door to hand out candy. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  1. Wear a mask, whether you’re trick or treating or handing out candy
  2. Carry hand sanitizer and use it between houses/trick or treaters
  3. If you get to a house and there are other people already at the door, stand back and give them space. This might mean waiting on the sidewalk until they pass.
  4. If you are handing out candy, think about ways to give out candy without getting too close. You can pre-package goodie bags and leave them on a small table 6’ from your front door, and greet children from inside when they approach. Consider leaving a bottle of hand sanitizer out for people to use as they approach.
  5. Consider creating a one-way path for trick or treaters coming to your house – they can approach using the path to your front door and leave via the driveway.

Whatever you decide to do, Halloween can still be fun for the whole family. For more tips and information about whether certain activities are high- or low-risk, please visit the CDC’s Holiday page.

Factoring in Flu Season for COVID-19

Factoring in Flu Season for COVID-19

With fall–and flu season–fast approaching, COVID-19 is still circulating the country, and experts fear the combination may overwhelm already strained healthcare systems. Influenza accounts for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year. Children younger than 5 years old–especially those younger than 2– are at high risk of developing serious complications from the seasonal virus. Hospitals often reach peak capacity during the flu season, and if COVID-19 cases also surge, it will be difficult for medical centers to maintain life-saving resources. Will there be enough open beds, oxygen, ventilators, masks and gowns to provide critical care?

To make matters more complicated, the two viral diseases share similar symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath and severe fatigue. As parents, you may soon need to decipher whether a sick child has flu or COVID-19. Should you quarantine or visit the doctor? Researchers are still looking into distinguishing factors.

The possibility of a “twindemic” is undoubtedly frightening. Fortunately, there are steps we can all take to protect our families, and reduce the impact of this year’s flu.

Take precautions this flu season.

  1. Get Vaccinated. As the world anxiously awaits a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to remember that a safe and effective flu vaccine already exists. The CDC has worked with manufacturers to ensure that extra flu vaccine is available this year. Get flu shots for the whole family this September or early October, and encourage your friends to do the same. We can all do our part to prevent respiratory illness from spreading in our communities.
  2. Keep your distance. The social distancing measures we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic may help to slow influenza. Avoid close proximity to others when possible.
  3. Wear your mask. Masks help protect us from both COVID-19 and Influenza, which spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or sings. Reduce the airborne transmission of viral disease by wearing your mask indoors and out. New evidence shows it also helps the wearer.
  4. Wash your hands. Frequent handwashing is a simple and powerful tool to prevent illness. You know the drill: soap, water, and at least 20 seconds of scrubbing. Help your little ones do the same.

2020’s public health crises continue to challenge our country, but we’re stronger together. Protect yourself and your loved ones with a flu shot and basic safety measures, and know that our medical team is here to provide quality care and advice when you need it.

First Aid for Insect Bites and Stings

First Aid for Insect Bites and Stings

As COVID-19 concerns and closures continue, many families are looking to nature for entertainment this summer. Socially-distanced outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and camping, are an excellent way to stay safe and still make the most of the season. But whether you’re heading into the backcountry or spending a day at the local lake, more time outside means an increased risk for insect bites and bee stings. Mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, bees, wasps, spiders and scorpions can all cause adverse reactions, ranging from minor annoyances to life-threatening conditions. Parents should know the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions and infection, and when it’s time to get care.

Common Symptoms of Insect Bites & Bee Stings:

  • Swelling at bite site
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Call 911 or head to the ER if you notice:

    • Hives
    • Lightheadedness or fainting
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Shortness of breath or wheezing
    • Chest pain
    • Difficulty swallowing or tongue swelling

    While severe allergic reactions are possible, you can usually treat your child’s insect bites and bee stings at home. Follow these general steps to prevention and treatment:

    • Use an insect repellent to deter mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.
    • Move to a safe place. If you’re stung and are near a wasp nest or bee hive, retreat to an area where you won’t get swarmed.
    • Use antiseptic soap to clean the wound. Apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
    • Use a cold compress or ice to reduce swelling, and relieve pain and itching.
    • Remove stingers or ticks as quickly as possible.

    Think a bite or sting may be more serious? Head into our urgent care.

    If your child is suffering from a mild to moderate reaction after a sting or bite, know we are here 7 days a week and you never need an appointment. Our medical team is prepared to evaluate the wound and provide the appropriate care, from infection treatment and irrigation to stinger and tick removal. If lyme disease is suspected, we can prescribe the necessary antibiotics.

    Get fast, convenient pediatric care for childhood insect bites and bee stings today.

What to do if your child has sustained a concussion

What to do if your child has sustained a concussion

A concussion can happen at any age, and as a parent, it’s important for you to know the signs and symptoms. A child might suffer a concussion during a simple fall, a sports activity, or a car accident. Any direct blow to the head, face, or neck or elsewhere on the body with an “impulsive” force that jars the head can cause this type of brain injury.

If your child has sustained a concussion, they might exhibit behavior changes and specific signs, such as:

  • dizziness
  • balance problems
  • double or blurry vision
  • sensitivity to light and noise
  • looking like they’re daydreaming
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble remembering
  • confused or forgetful about recent events
  • slow to answer questions
  • changes in mood — irritable, sad, emotional, nervous
  • drowsiness
  • change in sleep patterns
  • difficulty sleeping

Concussions temporarily affect brain function and require time to heal. It’s important for a child to rest from school, activities, and sports until symptoms subside. Another blow to the head while the initial concussion is healing can result in permanent brain damage. Adhere to the saying, “when in doubt, sit it out” to prevent repeated concussions.

When to see a doctor:

Always err on the safe side in regards to a brain injury! It’s a good idea to get a bump on the head checked out.

As long as your little one did not experience a loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting as a result of head injury, our urgent care center is a good place to seek care. We can perform quick diagnostics and determine the appropriate level of care.

Walk into our clinic today for a fast, affordable evaluation and an expert treatment plan.

Summer During The Pandemic: Q & A

Summer During The Pandemic: Q & A

While we hoped warmer weather would put an end to coronavirus concerns, the risk of respiratory disease continues into the summer season. Studies show that temperatures have very little impact on COVID-19 transmission. This means we all need to continue practicing prevention measures. What will this look like at the park, pool, beach, and beyond? Below, we answer some common questions regarding summer during the pandemic.

Is it safe to swim during COVID?

According to experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread through water. Chlorine and bromine–the disinfectants used to clean pools, hot tubs, spas, and water play areas– should successfully kill the virus.

The potential for COVID-19 to spread at pools, lakes and beaches is related to the crowds attracted to these places. Close contact with other people, whether on land or in water, is still of concern. If you and your family go for a swim, make sure to maintain social distancing and wear facial coverings when not in the water. And as always, follow the guidance of your local public health authorities and facilities.

Do I need to wear a mask while outdoors?

When assessing the need for a mask, you should always follow local rules and regulations, and also consider your proximity to others. Check ahead of time to see if your destination has rules around face coverings. In situations where keeping a 6 foot distance may not be possible, wearing your mask adds a layer of protection. In addition, try to go at off-peak times to reduce your exposure to others.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I’m riding a bike?

If you’re biking on a less populated path or trail, a face covering likely isn’t necessary. But if you’re in a city where there are lots of people using the same bike lanes, wearing a mask helps keep your fellow cyclists safe. Always maintain a safe distance from others and don’t follow behind other riders too closely. If you plan on going into a store or spending time with others during or after the ride, you’ll need a mask for those times as well.

Can I take my child to the playground?

Current CDC guidelines recommend against the use of playgrounds. It’s hard for children to maintain physical distance while on the jungle gym, and the equipment itself could be infected. If children or adults touch those surfaces and then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes, they can be exposed to COVID-19.

Are backyard barbecues OK?

Small outdoor gatherings are a great way to stay social this summer. Still maintain physical distance and try to keep numbers down (think less than 10 people). You can further reduce the risk of transmission by having everyone bring their own food, plates, and utensils.

We hope this Q & A serves as a helpful guide for a healthy and safe summer during the pandemic!

Our medical team is here to care for you through COVID-19. Get expert treatment and advice at our local clinic today.