Hello SSP Parents,
We understand how frustrating the last week has been for you all. We are in one of the busiest viral illness seasons any of us have experienced since 2019, maybe longer. Just as we all started to settle into our new normal...BAM! we get smacked with another challenge to navigate - RSV, Flu, Rhinovirus, Strep, and some other unnamed viruses causing prolonged cough!
oh and to add insult to injury....your trusted doctor's office is fully booked for the day.
1. Our Availability - Yes, just like the rest of the healthcare system, SSP is being challenged in a big way and we are filled to capacity every day. - We have begun the process of opening up more same day sick spots to address the needs of our families. - We are working toward having a triage nurse available to answer calls in a shorter than usual timeframe and will update our website with our new developments as soon as we have a resolution. - You can help by canceling any appointments you do not plan to keep in advance. Having "No Shows" significantly impacts our operations. We would like to make that slot available to someone in need.
- Last, please get your child(ren) vaccinated against the Flu and COVID-19 viruses. There is not an RSV vaccine available for most children. The RSV vaccine has always been limited to high risk infants only.
2. Let's Talk RSV RSV is not a new virus. Almost ALL children get RSV at least once before they are 2 years old. In older children, RSV can look just like a common cold. In younger children, the presentation can vary from mild cold symptoms to difficulty breathing, wheezing, poor eating, and fevers. If you suspect RSV, your child should be seen if they are in distress, are under 3 months of age, were born premature this year, have "chronic lung disease", or a weakened immune system. Please see this link to learn more important info about RSV and when to see your doctor.
TESTING IS PERFORMED ON CHILDREN CONSIDERED HIGH RISK ONLY.
THERE IS NO TREATMENT FOR RSV; ONLY SUPPORTIVE MEASURES FOR HIGH RISK CHILDREN IN DISTRESS.
Please refrain from bringing mildly ill children into the office for testing "just to know". It strains the system and decreases test availability for those who really need it; that is, our children under 2 years old and those in distress.
3. Urgent and Same-day Visits We are asking our families to call our office as early as possible to secure a sick slot for your child. If we are out of sick appointments for the day, please decide what you think is best for you and your child: - ask to leave a message for the triage nurse. They will typically return your call within 3-4 hrs depending on the number of calls received. - schedule an appointment for the following day, if available or call the following day. During this surge in illnesses, you may have to wait a little longer than desired. If your child is safe, please make them comfortable and see us the following day. It is worth waiting for your doctor when it is safe. Having your well-trained pediatrician, who knows your child, diagnose and treat your child is proven to have the best outcomes. - If waiting is not an option, go online to one of our trusted local urgent care offices (PM Pediatrics or Total Access Pediatric Urgent Care) to check their availability. All urgent care facilities are NOT created equal. As stated by the AAP, "THE BEST PLACE FOR YOUR CHILD TO RECEIVE MEDICAL CARE IS AT THEIR PEDIATRICIAN'S OFFICE."
4. Reserve the ER for true emergencies For Emergencies, please let us know that you plan to go to an ER. One of our doctors will call to check in on you and your child. We typically recommend Children's National Medical Center and Holy Cross Hospital. They are extremely busy and wait times are exceptionally long. True Emergency concerns will be given priority. Common Emergency symptoms include: Difficulty Breathing and Respiratory Distress Moderate to Severe Allergic Reactions (mouth swelling, wheezing, repeat vomiting, lethargy) Severe Abdominal Pain Severe Neck Stiffness Loss of Consciousness or Head Trauma Moderate to Severe Burns Poisoning/Ingestion
Other clinically unstable children
THE FOLLOWING CONCERNS ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE ER APPROPRIATE So call us first for sore throat, mild rash without fever, pink eye without swelling, ear pain, fevers in a child over 2 months.