While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is far from over, things are slowly starting to open up across the country. But many parents are still feeling anxious about resuming normal activities and are postponing things like vacations, shopping trips, playdates and even visits to the doctor. And, while it’s okay to skip vacations and playdates, medical visits are not something that should be avoided.

It’s more important now than ever to take steps to ensure that our children remain strong and healthy to keep their immune systems intact. This helps to protect them not only from the coronavirus pandemic, but also from the multitude of other viral and bacterial infections that existed in our community well before this pandemic began.

Over the past several months, there has been a significant drop in childhood vaccination rates, which is not good at all. Timely vaccination is a cornerstone of good pediatric health and infectious disease prevention.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many pediatric practices delayed routine care either completely or with some limitations. And many families were reluctant to schedule well child visits at their doctor’s offices for fear of contracting the virus. But now, many practices have adjusted their hours and are welcoming patients, so it’s extremely important for families to reach out to their healthcare providers and reschedule missed appointments.

Even if your child is not due for a vaccine, it’s important to keep up with their well visits. Your pediatrician is your partner in maintaining your child’s health, and it’s important that they see your child annually to monitor their development and health.

If you have concerns about going to the doctor’s office, call your pediatrician’s office and talk to the staff about what safety measures they have in place. Feel free to ask about their policy for wearing masks when you and your children visit the office. Remember, it’s okay to inquire about what your doctor’s team has in place to protect you and your child!

Get more tips from Dr. Bellard on this episode of Pandemic Parenting, a Facebook Live event featuring NBC’s Barbara Harrison.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alsan Bellard Alsan Bellard Jr., M.D., is the medical director of the Children's Health Center at THEARC.

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