Medical Reminders and Updates

As we get ready for fall, it’s time to make sure that everyone’s health care maintenance is up to date.

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Required vaccinations. Whether in-person school happens part-time, full-time, or not at all, children need to have their vaccines up to date, so review your school-age kids’ records and make sure they have what’s required. Younger children need to be vaccinated to avoid falling behind, which threatens both the individual child and the community. If the pandemic causes a decrease in routine immunizations, there could be an increase in whooping cough, which can be very difficult in young babies, and resurgences of measles, mumps, and chicken pox. New to this year: All incoming 7th graders will need to have a meningitis vaccine per the new NYS guidelines.

Flu shots. The new flu vaccine should be available soon — in normal years, doctors’ offices receive it by the end of August (though there may be delays this year). If you are hiring people who will be around your children (nannies, in-person tutors, etc.), discuss flu shots with them and consider paying for their flu shots.

 

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Regular checkups. Babies under the age of two should be seen for their regular checkups. Apart from the primary series of vaccines, lots of work gets done at those visits: weight and growth monitoring, range of motion and orthopedic exams, eye exams, dietary and nutritional checkups, blood tests for iron and lead, and behavioral and developmental surveillance, to name a few.

 

Other important appointments. While we are able to move around freely, it’s a good idea to get dental, orthodontic, and ophthalmologist appointments out of the way. Just in case we have to go back to “sheltering in place,” there’s no harm in getting an extra teeth cleaning, even if it’s not due till later on. If your child sees a subspecialist for any reason, it’s a good idea to check in with them too and have them communicate with your primary pediatrician about your child’s care plan.

 

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Remember your own self-care. Parents can also use this relatively safe period we are in to catch up on their own routine medical and dental care. Physicals, blood tests, mammograms, skin checks, colonoscopies, pap smears, and other important visits are key to keeping you healthy. A second wave of coronavirus is not a good time to be getting a root canal or a biopsy!

 

Medical insurance changes. Due to the coronavirus emergency, legislation was passed so doctors could use telehealth visits. This has allowed medical practitioners to be reimbursed for telehealth visits and phone calls, whereas in the past, doctors spent hours on the phone without payment. It’s safer for patients to review lab results via a telehealth visit or phone call rather than an in-person visit. However, you may be charged a copay for these visits and follow-ups; this is a fee shifted to you by your insurance company, and the doctor’s office is not allowed to waive it.