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Willows Pediatrics Blog - We Know Kids
We Know Kids
The Willows Pediatrics Blog

Category: Willows Pediatrics

Willows Baby Group Thrives Outside

The intrepid members of our baby group don’t let the winter chill slow them down! On a recent Tuesday, with temperatures above 40 degrees, many of our new moms (and dads too!) met outside to discuss questions about newborn care and enjoy each other’s company. On top of the support and knowledge the group provides, our baby group is a great opportunity to meet new parents with similar age infants. The shared baby group experience has led to bonding and networking among the parents who join us, including finding time for outdoor walks and socially distanced outdoor get-togethers other days of the week.

Our baby group met outside here at Willows Pediatrics due to the pandemic and covid-19
Led by Heather Buccigross, PA-C and certified lactation consultant, our baby group meets by the picnic tables behind our office, weather permitting (no rain and temperature above 40 degrees) every Tuesday at 11 am. Babies are bundled up and are part of the team. In case of rain or temperatures below 40 degrees the group meets over Zoom. Please check our Instagram the day before for an update on the group’s location.

In Office Covid-19 Testing for Symptomatic Patients: Rapid Antigen Test And PCR Test

Rapid Antigen Covid-19 Testing

Covid-19 SARS antigen test box
Willows Pediatrics
has the ability to do rapid COVID-19 testing. This is performed with the rapid lateral flow assay made by Quidel using Sofia 2 test kits. A sample is obtained from the lower part of your child’s nose using a nasal swab. We run the test in our office. Parents receive results within the same day. (If the sample is obtained very late in the day, in those instances we may run your rapid antigen test shortly after the office opens the next morning. Swabs may be kept overnight and run the next morning).


There are a few limitations:

Covid-19 rapid in-office testing available at Willows Pediatrics

  • The rapid Covid-19 test is not recommended for testing asymptomatic individuals`because it may not detect low viral loads. For these individuals, the PCR test is the most accurate.
  • If your child is sick and the rapid Covid-19 test is negative, but symptoms increase or persist, we may recommend that your child also have a PCR test done.
    • Please note: We cannot do a Rapid Test and a PCR Test on the same patient on the same day
  • Rapid testing is now available on Saturdays and Sundays. Please call in the morning on the weekends to have your child seen.

How accurate is the rapid Covid-19 test?

  • In symptomatic individuals, the rapid test detects over 80% of individuals with a Covid-19 infection. Studies have shown rapid antigen Covid-19 tests have a sensitivity ranging from 84.0% – 97.6% compared to PCR testing. However, Covid-19 antigen levels in swabs collected 5-7 days after the onset of symptoms may drop below the limit of detection of the test.
  • In asymptomatic individuals, the rapid test may only detect a third of the positive cases compared to PCR testing

More details on the accuracy of rapid COVID-19 tests is available here.

PCR Covid-19 Testing

Unlike the rapid test, which looks for bits of coronavirus proteins, or antigens, the PCR test is a molecular test that detects genetic material of the coronavirus. PCR tests can detect ultra-low levels of viral RNA, which is why PCR tests are recommended for asymptomatic individuals who may not have enough viral load to be detected by the rapid test. PCR testing can also be done on people with symptoms.

If your child needs a PCR Covid-19 test, a sample is obtained from the lower part of your child’s nose using a nasal swab. This swab is sent to Quest labs, and your child should quarantine until the results come back. The turn-around time for results vary; it typically is 48-72 hours, but may be longer. Since we send the PCR test to Quest labs, we do not have control over when the results are available. (Please note, for individuals who have a Covid-19 PCR test because of an exposure, a negative PCR does NOT mean they can shorten the recommended quarantine period.)

How accurate is the PCR Covid-19 test?

PCR tests have a sensitivity and specificity greater than 95%. This means the chances of a false negative or a false positive are less than 5%.

Insurance

We submit the cost of the Rapid Covid-19 test to your insurance. When the PCR test is done, Quest Labs submits the bill for the test to your insurance. Please note, Husky Health does not cover the rapid Covid-19 test. Children or adolescents covered by Husky Health needing Covid-19 testing must have the PCR test done.

Family First: Developing And Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits During The Pandemic

As we head into the fall season, many parents are asking what they can do to keep their children as healthy as possible. With families needing to adjust work and school schedules, many familiar routines have changed, including meal time. Healthy nutrition has always been vital to the well being of children and adolescents, and even more so as families are spending more time at home, often in front of screens, and for many, managing a reduction in activities outside the home.

Abby Greenspun, RD, our nutritionist, was recently interviewed by Fox61 and offered her suggestions on how to encourage healthy eating habits during this time.

Some of the tips Abby offers include:

Brightly colored foods are often more appealing – “eating the rainbow” in particular bright colored fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

Fresh foods are preferred over processed, packaged foods.

Whole wheat pasta has all three layers of the wheat kernel: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm, which gives it an edge over white pasta when it comes to fiber and micronutrients.

Overall, Abby recommends keeping your family food options simple, colorful, and fresh. To hear Abby’s interview, please click here.

Sleep: Getting Back On Track For School

As we head into the school year, especially during this uncertain time, we thought it was a good time to talk about sleep.

Sleep is critical for many reasons. We are sure you have heard how important it is for growth and development and for encoding new memories. We also know not getting enough sleep can contribute to inattention, trouble focusing, and mood changes.

Right now, kids and adults are dealing with a lot of uncertainty. It can be extremely helpful for children and teens to have a consistent routine.

How much sleep do children need?

Of course, every child is different! But here are some general guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Recommended sleep chart - Willows Pediatrics

Bedtime at our house has moved later and later, how do we move it back?

It is common for bedtimes to shift over the summer when it is lighter later and we don’t have to get up early for school. This is especially true this year since summer was preceded by several months of remote school. We recommend gradually shifting your child’s sleep schedule earlier.

Here are some strategies:

  • Starting a few weeks before school, wake your child up a little earlier each morning (try 15 minutes) and get ready for bed a little earlier each night
  • Get morning sunlight, this helps reset our biological clock
  • Try to get some active time each day
  • Put away screens 1 hour before bedtime
  • Limit snacks and sweets a few hours before bedtime
  • Establish a consistent routine that you can repeat each night so your child knows what to expect
  • Have a family discussion about the sleep plan so that your child will understand the new routine.

Why are screens bad for sleep?

Electronic devices such as tablets and phones emit an artificial blue light, which tricks the body into thinking it is daytime. Blue light suppresses your body’s natural release of melatonin. Melatonin induces sleep as part of your circadian rhythm, your body’s internal clock. Using screens later at night disrupts your body’s natural sleep drive.

We encourage parents to establish a bedtime routine that does not include screens. Instead encourage other quiet activities such as reading a print book or journaling.

Do you have any specific advice for teens?

Sleep is especially important but also difficult for teens. The biological clock in teenagers is shifted later, meaning they often have trouble initiating sleep as early as would like.  Here are some tips especially for them:

  • Have a conversation with your teen about sleep and getting back on track for school. Try to get their buy in, help them understand why you are doing this.
  • Lots of teens are sleeping in late this summer; start getting them up earlier to help them adjust to an earlier bedtime.

Advice for teens (continued)

  • Set an electronics curfew and store phones outside of the bedroom overnight. This is a great habit for teens to establish. We are all addicted to our phones but we want to protect our teens from this as much as possible.
  • Use an alarm clock that is not their phone! A traditional alarm clock is a worthwhile investment. They even make mobile ones, for hard to wake teens (check out Clocky).
  • Make your teen’s bed only for sleep. The brain will associate the bed with being awake if your teen spends the day lounging or doing remote school there. If possible, try to have your teen do their schoolwork in a different location.

What if I have other questions or these tips are not working?

We are here to help! These tips are just a starting point. We are happy to discuss your individual child and family. Please give your physician or PA a call!

Save the Children: Story Time

Save with Stories - HashtagWe know that families are enduring unprecedented times.  With families spending more time self-isolating at home, we wanted to share with you a wonderful opportunity to bring story telling into your home.  Save the Children in Fairfield is on the front lines of helping millions of kids during these times of social distancing.  That’s why Save the Children and No Kid Hungry have partnered to offer stories on Instagram and Facebook to provide fun and education to kids and parents stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

The #SavewithStories campaign was started by Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams.  They currently have over 100 celebrities reading some of their favorite children’s books.  Kids love listening to them!  No donation is required.  It’s a great way to keep your kids entertained, or listen to their favorite stories together.

See Dr. Allison read “The Hungry Caterpillar” on the Save with Stories Instagram account.
Join us, along with @savethechildren and @nokidhungry, to #SAVEWITHSTORIES.

Dr. Allison - Willows Pediatrics, Save With Stories

To access more information about Save with Stories, please click the link below. Save the Children also is providing tools and tips you can trust for parents, caregivers, teachers and all those who care about children in crisis. The Save the Children Coronavirus Resource Center offers parents tips on how to talk to their kids about Coronavirus, activities and how to cope with extended school closures.

Save the Children and No Kid Hungry Logo

Links:
Save With Stories
Coronavirus Resource Center

 

Fifth Disease Interview with Dr. Lauren Allison on Star 99.9

Dr. Lauren Allison was recently featured on an interview with Star 99.9.

The Anna & Raven Show is a popular radio stream from the local station Star 99.9.  Anna, one of the broadcasters, is currently pregnant and was concerned when she heard there was a recent outbreak of Fifth Disease in the local area.

Both Anna and Raven from Star 99.9 decided to interview Dr. Allison to learn more about Fifth Disease and other viral illnesses.  Below is the interview with our own Dr. Lauren Allison!

You can listen by following this link or clicking below.

Adolescent Screening Tests for Depression and Anxiety

Caring for your teen banner

In response to new 2018 Universal Screening Recommendations for adolescent depression and anxiety by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Willows Pediatric Group is pleased to offer your adolescent age 12 years and over the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 self-reporting screening tests.

Adolescence is a period of time when teenagers may experience changes in mood and sense of well-being. While most teenagers may be able to express their feelings, not all are capable of doing so. Studies have shown that up to 50% of adolescents with depression go unrecognized and untreated. Read More

Willows Giving Back

Willow's Pediatrics gives back at Breast Cancer Walk Willow's Pediatrics gives back to Pediatric Cancer

As we begin 2018, the physicians, PAs, nurses, and staff of Willows Pediatrics would like to say how grateful we are for the support from our families as we gave back to our local community and beyond the past year. September 2017 was Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and families who purchased items at our bake sale helped support the fight against childhood cancer.   Thirteen members of the Willows family participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Sherwood Island last October and contributed to breast cancer awareness and research. October 2017 was also when several of our physicians and staff sorted and packed food at the Connecticut Food Bank in Fairfield.  Many thanks to our families who donated non-perishable food items during our food drive.   2017 ended with our Toys for Tots drive, part of the annual campaign run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve.  Again, many thanks for the generosity of so many families who donated unopened toys to be given to children whose families were unable to purchase them on their own.

Willow's Pediatrics gives back Toys for Tots Willow's Pediatrics gives back at the Food Bank

Baby Group Celebrates Halloween

Willow's Pediatrics Baby Group Photo - Halloween Celebration

Our always popular baby group took a break from their normal newborn learning sessions to celebrate Halloween and the new friendships and bonds that develop during the weekly sessions.  While their parents enjoyed baked goods and snacks, babies celebrated their first Halloween dressed in festive costumes.   The Willows baby group is open to any of our parents with an infant from birth to 3 months of age, and meets in our office every Tuesday at 11 am.  No appointment is needed, just bring yourself, any family members who want to join you, and your baby!

Willows Receives Award from the Connecticut Immunization Registry and Tracking System (CIRTS)

Willows Pediatric Group has done it again!  Based on data from the Connecticut Immunization Registry and Tracking System (CIRTS), we have achieved a 94% immunization rate at age 2 years, for our patients born in the year 2013. This has contributed to sustaining Connecticut’s high immunization rate.  We are proud to continue our tradition of receiving this annual recognition from CIRTS.

The physicians, PA’s, and nurses at Willows are dedicated to informing parents about the benefits of vaccines, and vaccinating your children at an appropriate age to keep them protected from diseases.

Willow's CIRTS Award 2017

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