Dear Parents & Patients,
It’s Tuesday and your pediatric clinicians are on the job and at your service! While our “routine” is not quite the same as last week’s or last month’s routine, we remain ready to help you care for your children.
In order to continue practicing safely, you will see our staff using plenty of hand soap and sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and spray. Nothing that’s not new for us, especially during cold and flu season, but something that we are practicing with extra diligence for the care of all concerned. Our offices are also instituting scheduling changes and other protocols to keep us all safe. Call your office to find out what specifically they are doing to help keep us all safe.
While the current COVID-19 outbreak is top of the mind for all of us, life does go on and other illnesses do as well. It’s important that we continue to protect our children from the many other diseases that we take for granted. Keep your regularly scheduled checkup appointments and keep your child’s immunizations up to date. It is not too late to get a flu shot, and this year, in particular, we all very strongly recommend it.
With springtime, besides flowers, we also usually see more children with strep throat, allergies, and other illnesses. If your child seems ill and it’s something you would normally see us for, we are here.
We also ask that you call the office before your appointment if your child or you have any respiratory or flu-like symptoms. Most of our offices can handle many of these appointments remotely via our telehealth services. Please visit https://alliedphysiciansgroup.com/telehealth/ and get set up today.
If your children are home from school, and you’re still at work, why not see if you can hire a friend’s college-age student to help you out with childcare. Take advantage of the beautiful weather today and get outside!
As you can imagine, with COVID-19 dominating the news, hackers are working to find ways to exploit the fears of those of us who are working remotely. Phishing email scams have been reported where the hackers are claiming to be from legitimate organizations with information about coronavirus. As you seek information, please always remember to visit ONLY trusted sites such as the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov), the World Health Organization (www.who.int) and the New York State Department of Health (www.health.ny.gov).
And once again, please remember that children with coronavirus are not getting very sick.
We will get through this… together.
Stay well, Allied family!
3/13/2020 Update: Information for patients with Asthama
By: Dr. Raphael Strauss, Dr. Robyn Kreiner, and Dr. Khalid Ahmad (Strauss Allergy & Asthma, Commack & Woodbury, NY)
Allied Physicians are getting many questions related to patients with asthma and coronavirus COVID-19. Fortunately, Strauss Allergy and Asthma is a great resource. While this is an evolving situation and information may change, our current recommendations are:
1 Take your controller asthma medications regularly as prescribed.
2 Have medication available but there is no reason to stockpile extra medication.
3 Children with asthma that is well-controlled do not appear to be at higher risk for severe outcomes. We are not hearing about excessive hospitalizations or severe cases in children in general in China, South Korea or other countries that have more cases.
We are concerned with the overall health and well-being of people and especially children in general at this time. The anxiety over this infection far exceeds the actual personal risk. We recommend keeping your kids in school if school is open. Follow public health recommendations regarding avoiding large gatherings, frequent hand washing, and reasonable social distancing. Above all, remain calm, rational and we will get through this together.
School closings, containment zones, and quarantines are ramping up Coronavirus anxiety amongst all of us, from the youngest, who respond to our stress, to the elderly, who are most affected, to those of us in the middle, who feels responsible for the whole family.
Your doctors at Allied Physicians Group are here for you, not only for medical care but as a source of reliable and sane information. We suggest you look at COVID-19 information from two perspectives.
1 Personal Safety: the vast majority of people infected by COVID-19 will have a mild illness, especially children.
2 Community Responsibility: the CDC and Health Department are trying to limit spread, or at least slow it down. Self-quarantine, containment areas, and social distancing are being implemented for these purposes.
The best way to stay healthy is by practicing good hand washing, remembering not to touch your face, and staying away from large gatherings when possible. Take advantage of the nicer weather and socialize outdoors. If you or anyone in your family is sick, stay home. When needed, cough into your elbow.
Your Allied physicians will help you through this crisis, as we have so many times in the past. Our doctors were on the front line of H1N1 infection – we made it through that, and together, we will make it through this.
If your child is sick, please call us. We are all screening patients carefully and doing what is needed to keep our families safe. Many of our offices currently utilize daytime telehealth or will soon implement telehealth. There is also After-Hours Telehealth offered from 630p-1030p Sunday to Friday for all Allied patients.
Allied Telehealth, day or night, is much better than the many other virtual visits you are hearing about because we use pediatric providers who have access to your full medical history. Call your Allied office with specific questions. For more info go to alliedphysiciansgroup.com/telehealth.
Keep your scheduled appointments. Children still need to get physicals and vaccines that protect them from illnesses much more serious than coronavirus. All of our offices have implemented procedures to keep you safe. We are following appropriate CDC recommendations. We are cleaning intensely and often.
What else can you do? Shut off the TV and give yourself and your children a break. Look for anxiety symptoms – such as moodiness, trouble sleeping, and separation anxiety. Talk to your children about their fears. Reassure them.
Check on your elderly neighbors, family, and friends. These people are most at risk for complications of Coronavirus. Ask if you can get them food, medicine or anything else they need. We are a community; we need to take care of each other.
As always #alliedcares.
We would like to give an update about how Allied Physicians Group is handling the Coronavirus- COVID19 infections in our area. Our main concern is the health and wellbeing of our patients and their families. The situation is evolving rapidly and we are making every effort to implement protocols to maximize safety within our 33 locations.
We understand there is a lot of fear and concern right now. The sensationalism and nonstop coverage from the media are making it difficult to respond rationally.
Fortunately, children have been having less severe infections. Children are exposed to many other coronaviruses every winter and this is thought to be one of the reasons why the infection is less severe in younger people. However, they can expose others who may be at greater risk for more severe outcomes.
In order to reduce the risk to our patients and their families, we are strongly encouraging the following:
We are asking families to limit the number of caregivers bringing the child to the office.
We are asking families to bring only the patient to the office, no siblings.
We are asking people over 60 to avoid the office unless there is absolutely no alternative.
We are asking all families to download our telehealth app, Anytime Pediatrics. To learn how to download the Anytime Pediatrics App, please see the directions at the end of this email.
If your doctor’s office has daytime telehealth visits, we strongly encourage considering virtual visits when appropriate. Check here to see if your practice offers telehealth during the day. Our after-hours telehealth practice is always open on Sunday – Friday, 6:30 – 10:30 pm.
If your child has a fever and coughs and is not ill-appearing, it is best to avoid our office. We are making every effort to safely keep these children out of the office. Currently, we are not able to test for COVID-19 in the office, and most hospitals are not testing unless there is a travel history or known direct exposure. Most ERs consult with infectious disease specialists and local Departments of Health. You cannot just walk in and ask for a test. If you think your child needs medical attention, please call us and we will arrange appropriate care.
Remember that washing hands and being aware of our surroundings is very important to staying healthy. There is no current need to wear masks unless instructed by medical professionals.
The most important aspect is to remain calm and rational. Allied physicians will continue to be accessible and provide the level of care you have come to expect. Our divisions are still doing well visits.
As things change, Allied will update our families as quickly as possible.
We are taking all the appropriate steps. Please still come see us, we are your best option.
Thank you for trusting us with the care of your families.