Winter Season Update
As we move into another winter season, Hamden Pediatrics has seen a sharp rise in respiratory infections. These infections are typically due to viruses such as Influenza or RSV, and rates have continued to increase significantly over the past few months. While we are unsure why there are more winter type infections this early in the year, we presume this has to do with abandoning previous social distancing efforts mixed with young children being exposed to some of these viruses for the first time and an immunity gap for our older patients who haven’t been exposed to these viruses in years.
Many of our families have been carefully watching news reports and already know that our local hospitals have been working at or above capacity, with limited beds available for critically ill children. Our hope at Hamden Pediatrics is that all of our patients and those in our community are getting the care they need. The best way to ensure that limited resources are available to our sickest patients is to decrease the number of children being seen in the emergency department. Yale has asked all community pediatricians to care for their patients in the office whenever possible.
Our office continues to be open from Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, with late hours until 7pm several days per week. We are also available in the office on Saturday mornings for sick appointments. We urge our families to call us first before taking their children to the emergency room. While our office has also seen a similar surge of sick visits, our skilled pediatric nurses can provide advice and help determine if your child needs to be seen urgently. We are also still offering telemedicine visits for patients when appropriate.
To help your family weather these viruses, here are some basic tips on how to manage most upper respiratory illnesses and colds.
- Steam showers for 10 or 15 minutes can help relieve congestion and cough.
- Elevating the head of your child’s bed while they sleep can decrease coughing at night.
- Honey (for children 2 and up) is a helpful tool to soothe sore throats and relieve cough. (Most over the counter medications unfortunately do not help with coughing or congestion)
- Tylenol (Acetaminophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen) should be used when appropriate for pain or fever. Fever is considered a temperature at or above 100.4°F.
- Many parents are concerned when their child’s secretions are green or yellow, thinking that this may be a sign of a bacterial infection. Please know that the color of your child’s secretions merely tells us that they are sick, and they do not need a visit to check for bacterial infection.
The following are some automatic reasons to schedule an appointment for your child:
- Your child has had fever for 5 days or more
- Your child is not eating or drinking well and has not made 3 wet diapers/trips to the bathroom
- Your child seems to be wheezing or having trouble breathing
Please remember the recommendation is to perform 2 rapid COVID tests separated by 36-48 hours on all sick children, as most COVID infections in children and teens present as common colds or fevers.
As always, the best protection is prevention. Please remind children to wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing and wear a mask when appropriate. We wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
The Doctors of Hamden Pediatrics