ST. LOUIS – The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t mean that other viruses and bacteria go away.
Dr. Ken Haller, a pediatrician at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, says that while you should avoid taking your children, especially those under 2 years old, places where they can be exposed, like the grocery store and other indoor errands, one place you shouldn’t avoid is the doctor’s office.
“Right now, people are very nervous about going anywhere with their kids and that makes a lot of sense. However, I will say that the doctor’s office is about the safest place you can go,” Dr. Haller said. “We have been doing this for a long time. We know how to keep kids safe. We know how to keep infection under control. We know how to wipe down surfaces and when to wear masks and when to wear gloves”
Plus, many pediatrician offices are keeping sick patients away from healthy ones.
Offices that have two physical spaces will keep healthy kids at one location and kids showing symptoms at another. Offices with just one physical space often have the morning for kids who are getting their vaccines and the afternoon for kids who are sick.
A deep cleaning can be done at the end of the day so they’re ready for the next morning.
Dr. Haller says many kids are missing their vaccinations which could mean serious issues down the road.
“While there may not be the kind of outbreaks of things like measles and whooping cough—that we might see otherwise—because kids are not with each other, we don’t want when these restrictions are lifted, when kids are able to play more freely with one another, we don’t want an outbreak of something really bad like whooping cough or measles because kids missed their shots,” said Dr. Haller.
If you have missed your child’s vaccinations over that past few months, Dr. Haller asks that you please call your doctor’s office to make an appointment. He says it’s just as important now as it ever was.
“So, getting those vaccines on time is really important and we’re going to do everything we can to keep your family safe when you come to see the doctor,” Dr. Haller said.
If your child is just a little sick, Dr. Haller says to call the doctor. It might be something that can be taken care of over the phone or by video. However, if your child is really sick, then your pediatrician will figure out the best way to see them in order to make sure they’re taken care of.