We regret to inform you (though most of you are already aware), that after a two year hiatus, the dreaded “viral season” has returned. The COVID-19 pandemic, starting in March 2020, brought about an epic shift in expected epidemiological trends in childhood viral illnesses (that’s a dorky way to say that everything was just really weird for a while and it was hard to make accurate predictions about what lie just around the bend from a disease stand point.) Without going into much detail, lets just say that we all got a bit spoiled because we didn’t have to deal with the viral onslaught that is historically typical of late September to early March. Certainly, communities were navigating through very different and new challenges, but the old familiar rigor of viral season took a break.
Well, she’s back.
We are currently seeing a significant spike in viral respiratory illnesses around our office and in the community, and the office is….as any of you who have been there in the last several weeks are aware…BUSY! Certainly none of this is meant to frighten or heighten anxiety, but instead to be a reminder that these kinds of illnesses are what we in pediatrics have typically dealt with year in a year out during this time of year. All of that being said, we wanted to pass on a few things for you to be aware of during this viral season:
- It’s busy. No, really. BUSY. Remember, Abilene is not a community with a pediatric specific emergency department and pediatric focused urgent care centers. Therefore, the general pediatricians manage many of these acute illnesses in addition to regularly scheduled check ups as well as taking care of newborns in the nursery and sick pediatric patients that have been hospitalized. We at Pediatric Associates are honored to get to serve in this role for your family.
- Busy = MORE STRESS in medicine and for families with sick kids. We understand this. Please know that we are doing our absolute best to get kids in and cared for as well as we can. Sometimes, good care requires more time and sometimes you’re the family that has been waiting while that extra care and time was required by someone else. We apologize in advance, and ask for your understanding. Hundreds of patient encounters are happening every day in our offices and our nurses and staff are being pushed to their limits to serve you.
- Things will probably be this way until around March. That has historically been when viruses start to slow down. So around here we’re all just buckling in and taking it one patient at a time.
- Viruses can be very frustrating, especially in young children who cannot safely be given many of the over the counter remedies for symptoms that older kids and adults can try. We’re working on a post to help you at home as you navigate through all of this and try to make the best decisions for your caring for your children. Click here for that info (available when “here” is hyperlinked).
And if we may, we’d like to ask a few things of you that will help to get through this season together:
- Plan for the wait time. Feel free to have toys, books, or movies on phones/ipads (don’t forget the charger!) to help pass the time. Snacks and drinks are ok as long as they don’t make a big mess that our MAs have to spend extra time cleaning to get the room turned over and ready forthe next patient. For you dads out there, don’t forget the diaper bag with extra diapers and wipes but ALWAYS ASK if you forgot. We can help you out there! We promise we’re moving as fast as we can, but having ways to pass the time will help you stay sane while you wait for us to get to your child.
- Please remember to bring any needed paperwork to appointments. For new patients, have the new patient paper work completed BEFORE you come or submitted online through our website. For consults and med checks, please remember to bring any necessary paperwork such as Vanderbilt forms that may be needed to make medication decisions. It is also helpful to bring your child’s medications to appointments if you do not know what their specific doses and names are.
- If you’d like us to address something with another child that isn’t scheduled it is VERY HELPFUL to bring this up when you call to check in instead of waiting until you are roomed.
- Please be kind. We are talking to our staff about this one as well. We’re all stressed when things get busy. We promise, we’re doing the best we can and we’re so thankful to get to serve your family!
As always, we’re honored to get to serve the healthcare needs of your family. Days may be long and even stressful, but when our heads hit our pillows at night we count ourselves extremely blessed to get to be doing what we do. Thank you for the opportunity!