There’s No Vaccine (yet) for COVID-19. But You Can Prevent 14 Other Diseases.
“Only you can control your future.” -Dr. Seuss
By Dr. Leisha Andersen, Pediatrician and Content Specialist, Bright by Text
During the COVID-19 pandemic, green eggs and ham may sound more appetizing than the phrase “you’re in control.” In actuality, simple actions you choose today can help control your child’s ability to remain healthy.
For example, did you know that when a parent lovingly snuggles their baby, the nervous system (of both parent and baby) responds by slowing the heart rate? Yes, the power of touch can control the way your baby—and you—respond to stress.
Did you also know that older children (or adults) who focus on positive thoughts can control their brain’s chemical impulses? Positive thoughts alter the path of chemicals that bathe the brain—strengthening brain cell circuits and even changing the brain’s hardwiring. So, reminding your children (and yourself) to think positively can control the ability to pay attention, think creativity, and feel happy.
Here’s another critical thing parents can control: your child’s chance of contracting a life-threatening disease. Taking your children to well-child checkups and keeping them up-to-date on their shots controls their chances of getting sick from 14 dangerous infections.
You may wonder whether doctor’s visits are even allowed (much less advised) right now. For most children, the answer to both questions is “YES!” Shelter-in-place orders still allow healthcare visits. And the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends continuing well-child visits and vaccinations—especially for children between birth and 2 years of age.
Speaking of control, it’s important for parents to know that doctor’s offices have made important policy and practice changes to control the spread of COVID-19. Each office may be a little bit different (so check on details with your provider). Your doctor’s office may have:
- New appointment schedules. You may be given an early morning well-child appointment so that you’re the first visit in the room that day.
- New infection-control protocols. The office staff may wear masks and gloves and ask you to do the same.
- New waiting room rules. You may be asked to wait in your vehicle for your appointment. Other offices may distance patients with reconfigured waiting areas.
- New entry options. Special “well visit” entrance doors may separate well and sick visitors.
- New visitor rules. The office may permit only 1 parent to attend the well-child visit (to reduce the number of visitors in the office).
- In-car or “tele” visits. Some offices may have a drive-up option (giving vaccinations in the car), and others may offer telehealth (virtual) visits.
I guess Dr. Seuss had it right all along. Despite COVID-19, you still have options for taking control of your child’s health. In honor of National Infant Immunization Week (April 25- May 2, 2020), make sure your child is up-to-date on their shots. Keep hugging your children, thinking positive thoughts, and scheduling well-child (shot) visits. Taking charge of your child’s health can keep their future looking bright.