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.
Your toddler is tugging at their ear and acting extra fussy. Could it be an ear infection?
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents bring their child to the doctor. In fact, five out of six kids will experience at least one ear infection by their third birthday. The condition, also known as acute otitis media, is an inflammation of the middle ear that occurs when fluid builds up behind the eardrum and becomes infected by bacteria or a virus. Since your child may not yet have the language skills to communicate their pain, it’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of an ear infection, and when it’s time to see a medical provider.
Signs and Symptoms
- Tugging or pulling at the ear(s)
- Ear pain that’s worse when lying down
- Irritable, fussier than usual
- Crying more than usual
- Difficulty hearing and/or failing to respond to sounds
- Difficulty balancing
- Drainage from the ear
- Fever (100 F or higher)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
These symptoms can indicate a number of conditions, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment from a medical provider.
When To See A Doctor
Call your child’s doctor, or head right into our clinic if:
- symptoms last for more than a day
- ear pain is severe
- your child is sleepless or irritable after a cold or upper respiratory infection
- you observe a discharge of fluid, pus or blood from the ear
To diagnose ear pain, our provider will review your child’s symptoms, perform a physical exam, and use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to view the eardrum. The provider may also use a pneumatic otoscope to check for fluid behind the eardrum.
If symptoms indicate a bacterial infection, we may be prescribe a course of antibiotics. Other times, it’s best to simply monitor the situation and focus on symptom management. Some earaches are not caused by infection, and will get better on their own within 1-2 days. Ear drops and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can reduce fever and ease pain.
If your child is suffering from signs and symptoms of an ear infection, we are here for you. Simply walk in for quick, convenient, quality care for you child.
With schools closed and the COVID-19 pandemic keeping us all at home, outdoor playtime for the kids has never felt more necessary.
Spending time outdoors provides plenty of health benefits for children, including sun exposure for Vitamin D production, unstructured time to learn and grow, and an opportunity for active play and exercise. This last benefit offers parents a bit of relief, too — more energy spent outdoors means less of a struggle at bedtime.
Fortunately, the weather is warming up and it’s easy to get outside right now. However, with ongoing coronavirus concerns, and seasonal allergies in full effect, it’s important to take some precautions when doing so.
How to Limit Germs & Allergens During Outdoor Playtime
- Choose a safe outdoor environment. To help limit coronavirus transmission, carefully consider your outdoor playtime setting. You’ll want to choose an open air space close to home. Think parks, trails, and recreation areas (or, if you have a backyard, you can let the kids run around there). The key is to avoid crowds and to stay at least six feet from others at all times.
- Be smart about activities. For the time being, it’s best to avoid “high-touch surfaces”, such as playgrounds and sports equipment. These surfaces are difficult to clean and disinfect, and may be contaminated. Organized sports are also currently off-limits, since we should not be gathering with others from outside the home. We suggest taking nature walks or biking through the neighborhood. You can also try activities, such as gardening, playing with sidewalk chalk, or setting up a scavenger hunt.
- Practice good hygiene. Be sure that the whole family washes their hands immediately after coming inside from playing outdoors. Use soap and warm water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. Try singing the ABCs with your child during hand washing and compliment them for doing a really good job. Hand washing is essential in the fight against coronavirus. To limit seasonal allergy symptoms, make sure your child bathes from head to toe before heading to bed. This can help wash away any residual pollen or mold from outside. You can also prevent tracking allergens into the home by taking shoes off upon entering. The goal is to limit exposure to allergens as much as possible.
At PedsNow, we understand that it can be a challenging time for kids and parents alike. We hope these tips help you feel more comfortable heading outside with the family for some much needed stress relief.
If your little one is suffering from springtime allergies, know that we are here for you. Our friendly pediatric providers are available 7 days a week, on a walk-in basis. We can evaluate your child’s allergy symptoms and provide expert treatment and advice. Check in online now »
Your little one is clutching at their throat and having trouble swallowing. Is this a mild sore throat that will go away on its own, or a strep infection that needs antibiotics? Learn about red flag symptoms and when it’s time to take your child to the doctor. Viruses, bacteria, allergens, and environmental factors can all cause sore throat symptoms in children.
Viral Sore Throat
A virus is the most common culprit for a sore throat, and is often accompanied by cold symptoms. If your child’s sore throat is accompanied by a runny nose, coughing, hoarseness, and/or conjunctivitis (pink eye), it’s most likely due to a viral infection. Viruses generally clear up on their own within 7-10 days.
Bacterial Strep Throat
About one third of sore throats are strep throat. Strep throat is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria and generally requires antibiotic treatment. The infection is extremely contagious and common among school-aged children. General symptoms include:
- sore throat
- red and swollen tonsils
- painful or swollen neck glands
- red and white patches in the throat
- trouble swallowing
- a headache
- lower stomach pain
- general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
- loss of appetite
Symptoms of strep throat can also vary depending on a child’s age:
- Infants: Low Fever, Thickened or bloody nasal discharge.
- Toddlers: Thickened or bloody nasal discharge with a fever, Cranky or Fussy, No appetite, Swollen glands in the neck, May complain of tummy pain
- Children age 3+: Extremely painful throat, Fever over 102 degrees F, Swollen glands in the neck, Pus on the tonsils.
When To See a Doctor for Sore Throat Symptoms
Seek medical care if your child:
- has difficulty swallowing
- isn’t drinking liquids
- is drooling
- feels very tired
- has pus in the back of the throat
- has a sore throat that lasts longer than a few days
PedsNow is available nights and weekends to diagnose sore throat symptoms and provide overall expert pediatric care. Just walk into our Hinesville clinic when your family needs trusted and affordable medical treatment. We can evaluate your child and provide the proper treatment and medication to help them feel better.
Your toddler is running a fever and acting extra fussy… Do you rush to the emergency room, or simply set an appointment with the pediatrician for next week? How about a trip to the local urgent care center? Determining what level of care your little one needs is often a difficult and confusing task. While your first step should always be a call to your pediatrician or an after-hours answering service to discuss symptoms, below, we offer some general guidelines for when and where to take your sick child for care.
When To Head Straight To The ER
A visit to the emergency room should be reserved for true medical emergencies, such as trauma, surgical procedures, and life-threatening situations.
Call 911 or go right to the ER if your child:
- is under 2 months old and has a fever of 100.4 degrees F or higher
- suffered a serious head or eye injury
- suffered a serious burn or large cut
- had a seizure
- has a broken bone with visible swelling
- shows signs of dehydration (dry lips and mouth, absence of urination for more than 12 hours, lethargy and confusion)
- is having trouble breathing
- ingested a poison, drug, or unknown substance
When To Use An Urgent Care
If your child is able to walk, talk, play and interact, it’s most likely not a medical emergency. For minor injuries and illnesses that require immediate attention, an urgent care center is a time- and cost-saving alternative to the ER.
Urgent care centers, such as PedsNow, are able to treat a wide range of non life-threatening injuries and illnesses, with X-rays and lab testing on-site. Average waits are under an hour and the cost per visit is much less than the ER.
At PedsNow, we treat newborns up to 21 years of age. Our pediatric-trained providers are available on evenings and weekends to provide quick, quality treatment of childhood illnesses and ailments.
Common children’s medical issues that can be treated by an urgent care include:
- Coughs/Stuffy Nose
- Strep throat
- Minor Cuts and Burns
- Common Cold
- Pink Eye
- Minor Broken Bones and Sprains
- Ear Infections
See a full list of conditions treated at PedsNow and check out our Decision Guide for more advice on where to seek medical treatment for your child.
Now you know the basics of where to take your sick child for care.
We’re here for you when an urgent care is the best choice.
With the holiday season just around the corner, stores will soon be stocking their shelves with eye-catching toys and rolling out deals to draw families from one store to another.
Among all the hustle and bustle of pre-holiday rush, many parents will not have the time or focus to read the warning labels on the toys they purchase. This can be a dangerous oversight.
In order to prevent accidents at home, follow these three major tips for choosing safer toys this holiday season.
- Read the age guidelines.
Every toy manufacturer includes guidelines that identify which age group can safely use the toy in question. Make sure to check these guidelines every time. It only takes a second, and buying the right toys for the right ages will allow the child to play safely and you to have peace of mind.
- Watch out for small parts.
It is developmentally appropriate for small children to put things in their mouth – it’s simply how they experience the world. Knowing this, it is your job as a parent, caretaker, and/or loved one to prevent playtime choking hazards. But how do you know which toys are safe for a young child and which are not?
Here’s an easy test: any toy that is able to fit through a toilet paper tube is too small for any child under 3 years old. And inspect each toy carefully before handing it over — toys that seem innocuous in the packaging and easily pass the toilet paper tube test may have parts that break off and become hazardous. For example, dolls and teddy bears often have easily removable buttons or eyes. This can lead to a swallowed part at best or a choking incident at worst.
- Avoid toys with button batteries.
Steer clear of any toy with a button battery that can be easily accessed by a child. Button batteries are the squat single-cell batteries used to power toys, watches, and hearing aids (among other items); their small, round shape and poisonous contents pose a big risk for young kids. Toy cars, light-up jewelry, and remotes are common culprits, so make sure to check that each and every battery-powered toy you buy (or household item within reach) is child-proof.