June’s Medical Minute

Dear Reach Out and Read KC friends,

This is my third Medical Minute in the Corona era. CORONA is a beautiful word; it means crown in Spanish. Yet, this Corona era has not exactly been beautiful. In the words of Lambrina Kless of National ROR, COVID came and shape-shifted our world. Adapting to this shape-shifted world has been a challenge in so many ways for nearly every human being on the planet – something that’s hard to wrap my head around.  Doctor’s offices mobilized technology for a deep dive into telehealth care delivery, Amazon can’t keep up with the explosion of on-line orders, and many of us struggle to figure out what exactly is safe and what might not be. We wear masks to run our errands, we worry about having enough sanitizer or disinfectant. This site here explains why and how to help children get used to wearing masks.

Our world will be forever changed, and hopefully in some good ways. The stark revealing of huge discrepancies in the lives of people related to housing, food security, health insurance, treatment in health facilities and more has been beyond eye-opening, and hopefully will lead to systemic changes so that ALL people have what they need to feel safe and secure. It seems each day we are learning more about this virus and how it affects people. Thankfully this illness is mild, and most people recover. Children tend to have mild disease, and in fact often have no symptoms at all, despite being infected. Recent reports of an inflammatory illness in children, which can be very severe, and very scary, are also very rare. Please see this resource for information for parents about this condition.

Children during this time are missing important day-to-day interaction with teachers, friends, and grandparents. Educators report they are less worried about the academic delays as the social-emotional delays that may occur due to school closures. Children may struggle to understand why their world has changed so dramatically.  Please remember, snuggling up with a kiddo to share a book is proven to reduce those stress hormones in both child and reader! Continuing to the extent possible routines of bedtimes, mealtimes and book sharing are helpful to children especially in times of stress.

Child advocates worry that more children may be experiencing abuse/neglect as the mandated reporters (teachers, health care providers) are not seeing children. Reports of child abuse / neglect are WAY down, which would not be expected when so many families are under tremendous stress.  If you or someone you know is feeling at the end of their rope, please remind them there is help!  The CHILDHELP National Child Abuse hotline is 1-800-422-4453. Through interpreters available in 170 different languages, the hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.

Spring is here, folks are hopefully going outside – walking, playing catch, kicking a soccer ball around, and figuring out driveway or porch gatherings with appropriate physical distancing.  Knowing how to decrease risks while most localities are “opening up” is important. Current guidance is that physical distancing remains very important. Wearing a mask where physical distancing is not possible is recommended for all persons over age 2. Dining outside at a restaurant is safer than dining inside. Limiting who you interact with to people who you know have been wearing their masks, and practicing physical distancing is helpful. Drive by birthday parties and graduation events are the 2020 way of celebrating for now.

The amount of unreliable, unscientific, even dangerous information that goes viral on the internet and certain media outlets is overwhelming! Even selected individuals in the federal government are touting totally unproven, and possibly dangerous remedies or actions. So, most importantly, ONLY PAY ATTENTION TO RELIABLE SOURCES OF INFORMATION: CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, State/Local Health Departments and your primary care health care providers! Your doctor’s office or hospital is safer than ever due to all the extra efforts in cleaning/sanitizing taking place for COVID prevention. We’ll talk again in July, and see how summer is going, and what might be known for resumption of school. Until then, wash your hands, wear your masks, don’t touch your face!

-Sallie Page-Goertz, MN, APRN, CPNP, IBCLC

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