Important Information During the Coronavirus Outbreak
In order to protect our patients, families, staff, and our community from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) we have implemented the following changes.
Remember you are the front line in the protection from this pandemic. Remember to use basic infection control strategies such as social distancing, masks, and frequent hand washing. As always, we will remain available to address your concerns and worries during this difficult time. Thank you for your understanding and patience with us as we do our very best to provide the care your children need and deserve.
1) Well visits and non-illness related conditions and concerns will be scheduled for an office or a Telehealth visit. For office visits, all patients and their caregiver will be given a mask and hand sanitizer when they arrive and be asked to wash their hands before they leave our office. If you have a mask, please wear it so we have more masks for those who need one.
2) All visits will be by appointment only. We have suspended our walk in sick visits until the pandemic is over. Each child’s condition will be assessed by phone by our clinical staff to determine appropriate treatment. This will allow us to determine whether a child can be treated at home, by Telehealth, or if an office visit is needed.
3) All visits, sick or well, are limited to the patient and one caregiver only except during the first month for babies. Please do not bring additional family members or siblings. For established patients 12 years or older, we ask that the parent participate in the visit by phone and stay in their car in an effort to practice social distancing.
4) All patients and their caregiver will be screened for fever before entering the office. If a fever is present, then the well appointment will be rescheduled and a Telehealth visit or in office visit will be offered.
5) All patients will need to wait in their car until they are met at the door by a nurse. All patients will be escorted to the exam room immediately upon arrival to our office. All rooms are sanitized between each patient encounter. Air purifiers with MERV 13 filters have been installed in all exam rooms, and other areas in the building. Glass dividers have been installed to separate the reception area, the nurses area, and the hallways.
6) All sick visits will be scheduled for a Telehealth visit or an office visit in our well ventilated outdoor exam room or indoor sick exam area. Dr Evans, Dr. Heath, or Eric Bornemann will meet you in these rooms wearing PPE. These visits will be for a brief physical exam. We will complete the visit by phone.
7) Our Telehealth platform is Sewaneepeds.doxy.me. Telehealth may be appropriate for many visits such as ADD/ADHD management, asthma management, and other non infectious conditions. If you are interested in a Telehealth encounter, please request this when you call for an appointment.
Sewanee Pediatrics is recognized by the CDC!
Sewanee Pediatrics is featured on the CDC website as one of 25 practices in the US for our work with improving HPV vaccination rates. We are an HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion Winner in 2019!
Measles Outbreak: How Do I Protect My Family?
Measles cases are spreading across the country, including Tennessee, and many families are contacting us to learn how to best protect their children and themselves. We hope that the information in this article will be helpful.
Measles is a highly contagious, airborne viral illness. So contagious, in fact, that if an unprotected person enters a room where a person with active measles was 2 hours earlier, they have a 90% chance of getting measles. The virus can be transmitted from 4 days before the rash becomes visible to 4 days after the rash appears. In areas of the country where there are numerous active cases and the virus is spreading, it is very important to make sure your family is protected.
The good news is that there is a safe and effective measles vaccine. Measles vaccine is currently part of two licensed combination vaccines: the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) and the MMRV (measles-mumps-rubella-varicella). There is no currently available single component measles vaccine.
MMR is routinely first given to children at 12-15 months of age per the standard schedule. The second dose of MMR is routinely given between 4-6 years of age. The second dose is not a booster, but rather is intended to produce immunity in the small number of people who fail to respond to the first dose. Between 2% and 5% of people do not develop measles immunity after the first dose of vaccine. This occurs for a variety of reasons. The second dose is to provide another chance to develop measles immunity for people who did not respond to the first dose. The second dose can be given as early as 4 weeks (28 days) after the first dose and be counted as a valid dose if both doses were given after the child's first birthday.
If you live in, or are traveling to, a region where there is a current measles outbreak and your child has only had their first vaccine, you should discuss getting the second vaccine early with your doctor. It takes 10-14 days for the body to build up protection from the vaccine. Why don't we give the second dose early for everyone? Unlike measles which gives lifetime immunity after two shots, protection from mumps starts to diminish after 7-10 years. By waiting to give the second MMR, we provide longer protection from mumps. (Mumps has already been a problem at some college campuses and other places.)
How can I protect my infant who hasn't yet received the 12 month MMR? If your child is at least 6 months old, they can receive a shot early. However, this will only give them temporary protection and they will still need the two routine doses at 12-15 months and 4-6 years of age.
Children under 6 months of age are not eligible to receive MMR vaccine. Antibodies circulating from their mothers prevent them from having an appropriate response to the vaccine. The best advice for parents planning to travel with infants less than 6 months of age to an outbreak area (either in the US or abroad): don't go.
What about parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles? People born prior to 1957 are considered immune because measles was widespread before the vaccine. Anyone who has had two doses of vaccine or has proven measles immunity by antibody titers (bloodwork) is considered protected. There is no indication for a third measles vaccine. If you are not sure, or had only one vaccine, the CDC has great information here.
Vaccination does not just protect our families, but also protects those vulnerable members of our community who cannot get the vaccine either because they are infants and too young, are undergoing treatment for cancer, have immune deficiencies, or are immunosuppressed because they have had an organ transplant. By vaccinating your family you are helping to keep our community as safe as possible and contributing to herd immunity. #VaccinesSaveLives