“Pandemic” Office Hours
Well Care Appointments
|Monday-Friday – in the morning and late afternoon. By Appointment Only|
|Monday-Friday – In the early afternoon. By Appointment Only|
|Available if needed – arranged on a case by case basis.|
|Suspended, however our on-call doctor and nurse are available as always.|
As Memphis is phasing in a reopen process after our “Safer at Home” time, we are continually updating our procedures to allow our patients to return to regular wellness visit and vaccine schedules. Some of these changes include temporary modifications of our waiting area, scheduling to prevent well and sick children from overlapping in the office , and dedicating exam rooms as “Well” or “Sick”.
During this time, it is very important to catch up on any wellness visits or vaccines that were delayed due to the “Safer at Home” restrictions.
You may also find there are medical issues that didn’t warrant getting out during the past few weeks but that need to be addressed. This is also a great time to catch up on those issues.
Our clinical staff are wearing masks to help protect you and your child from potential asymptomatic spread. For now Televisit appointments are also available.
With the current coronavirus pandemic upon us, many of our patient’s parents have questions and are looking for guidance. So far, we’ve learned that the situation is changing almost every day. We will be keeping the information posted here as up to date as is possible.
The current strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new version of a type of virus that regularly causes illness. This new strain is a problem because there is no group immunity to prevent it’s spread and it may be more contagious. This brings up lots of public health questions. We continue to look to the public health officials for guidance about the advice that we give our patients.
As you’ve likely heard, COVID-19 does not cause as much severe illness in children. The latest information does say that children can experience severe illness as well. It is true that older people or people with other medical problems may be at much more risk. That information does mean that during this outbreak children who are sick should probably be isolated from older adults or other people who are in high risk groups.
Of course people have questions. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common things people are calling about and have answered them here.
Is Laurelwood Pediatrics open?
Yes, we are open and returning to providing most of our usual services but our schedules and many of our office procedures are different that usual to help promote distancing and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.
Should we come to Laurelwood to have my child's checkup?
Yes. Now is the time to start catching up on important wellness visits and vaccines that were missed due to the recent restrictions.
We have taken new measures to protect our healthy patients who come in for their checkup visits. Not only do we have separate waiting rooms available, but also we have designated exam rooms as “well only” to make sure that we limit potential risks. We are also scheduling well visits only in the morning times with sick visits in the afternoon. Our doctors and clinical staff are wearing masks to help avoid the possibility of asymptomatic exposure as well.
During this time, please minimize the number of family members who accompany your child to the visit.
My child has a cough and a fever. Should I come to Laurelwood to get it checked out?
Most of the children that we are seeing have routine childhood illnesses. If your child is sick, we advise that you generally treat the illness just as you would normally. In other words, if you would typically come in to have these symptoms checked by the doctor, you should treat this illness similarly. If you feel that observation is appropriate you may continue to treat symptoms at home as well. If you need help making that decision, you may call the office and ask one of our nurses.
If you are specifically concerned that your child may have coronavirus infection, please call and speak with one of our nurses. We may be able to test your child for Coronavirus in the office or in our parking lot, but we will want to talk with you about the details before your visit to make sure that we can test in the safest way possible.
My child is sick but attending school in person. Does he need to be checked before returning to school?
With school just starting back, guidelines about this issue are just becoming available. We are following the guidelines that LeBonheur has published about returning to school as safely as possible. These guidelines categorize symptoms as higher risk or lower risk for COVID-19. The higher risk symptoms include: fever, shortness of breath, new or worsening cough, and loss or taste or smell. The lower risk symptoms include: sore throat, nasal congestion, vomiting / diarrhea, muscle ache, headache, and fatigue. If your child experiences one higher risk symptom or two or more lower risk symptoms, they should be evaluated by the pediatrician. If a non-COVID-19 source for the symptoms is identified, the illness will be treated appropriate. Otherwise, a COVID-19 test will likely be sent.
Individual situations are always unique, so contacting our nurse or speaking with your pediatrician can help clarify these recommendations for your child’s particular case.
Should my child wear a face mask?
Yes. Facial coverings are a key part of preventing the spread of Coronavirus. The City of Memphis and Shelby County requirements for masks apply to children 12 and older but the CDC recommends masks for children 2 years old and up.
Can children "catch" Coronavirus?
Yes, children can definitely be infected with this novel coronavirus. The latest data from the CDC on COVID-19 cases in the United States showed that of 150,000 cases, only 1.6% involved children 18 years old or younger. Of that group of children, hospitalization was necessary in about 6%.
We continue to learn new information as this illness affects more and more people. Although the latest data does support the idea that children get coronavirus less often than do adults it can still cause serious illness in children. This should all remind us to continue to follow the current advice from our health organizations and governments and to practice good distancing and hygiene.
Are you doing testing for COVID-19 at Laurelwood?
We can collect specimens for testing for COVID-19 which can be sent to our outside lab. Having a COVID test done by our office will require a visit with your pediatrician who will coordinate the details of the testing and obtain the sample. Thankfully, it is not necessary to collect the deep nasal sample that was widely used a few months ago. We continue to follow the national guidelines for determining who should be tested. Processing times have varied quite a bit during the pandemic, but lately these tests turn around in about 48 hours.
We may be offering point of care testing that is run in our office in the near future. Using this test results will be available much more quickly. Your doctor will be able to decide which testing method is most appropriate for your child
Should my child be tested for COVID-19?
The CDC recommendations for testing are changing and will likely continue to change. The emphasis at this time is to prioritize patients who have COVID-19 symptoms and are extremely ill, have underlying risk factors, or who have been exposed to COVID-19.
If you think that your child needs to be tested, please call and speak with one of our nurses who can help you make that decision and can help coordinate that testing.
Is it safe to take my child out in public?
Currently, the policies of social distancing are important to help protect our communities and country. Now that community spread is in our area, we are seeing increasing restrictions being placed. We advise avoiding unnecessary exposures to others during this time. For now, a walk or bike ride outside is fine. We would not advise gathering in groups for play dates or other social activities.
Currently, our mayor is recommending that a single family member do the necessary shopping alone. If possible, we recommend avoiding taking your child to the grocery or on other outings around others.
How do I talk to my kids about the coronavirus pandemic?
As the COVID-19 pandemic affects life in our area more and more each of us naturally feels anxiety in a variety of ways. Very frequently parents anxiety transfers to our kids. It’s important to develop ways to be honest with your kids while at the same time reminding them that we will get through this outbreak and their daily lives will return to normal.
One technique for avoiding excessive anxiety is to focus on today and avoid worrying too much about weeks and months ahead. You can remind your kids that they have food, a place to live and you there to take care of them and love them.
As always, make sure that your conversation with your kids is tailored for their age. You may need to have different conversations with each of your children in different settings that are age appropriate. Also while school is suspended or online, help your kids establish new routines that include getting dressed and a somewhat regular schedule.
Check out the links on the page below for some helpful resources.
The following links provide some of the best information that is available about COVID-19:
CDC COVID-19 Home Page
CDC Guidelines on what to do if you or your child is sick.
University of Tennessee COVID-19 information page including a tool to help you know if you or your child should be tested.
We’ve found some good resources to help parents and kids while being “Safer at Home”:
The CDC’s official page about Talking with children about coronavirus.
The Child Mind Institute has some interesting resources for parents in helping their children understand coronavirus.
Sesame Street has opened a new Caring Site with lots of resources online. They have also made many of their books available for free on most ebook platforms.
The New York Times’ podcast “The Daily” released “A Kids Guide to Coronavirus” an episode with a scientist who answers kids’ questions about coronavirus. It could be a good tool to either listen with your older kids or to give you some answers to younger kids questions.
Bright Horizons has a nice page, “Talking to Kids about COVID-19” with lots of good information and some common questions that kids ask.