Why it’s important to keep your kid’s doctor appointment during the pandemic

New mom Jennifer Jean-Pierre, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is sticking to her 3-month-old daughter Teagan’s vaccination schedule. (Courtesy Jennifer Jean-Pierre)

Some parents with COVID-19 concerns are choosing not to take children to the doctor. And a Maryland doctor says it’s important to keep your child’s doctor’s appointments.

“You need to take your baby in for their well-child assessments and their immunizations,” said Dr. Toni Thompson-Chittams, head of TLC Pediatrics in Bowie.

Though Thompson-Chittams said she respects that people are anxious and fearful about the coronavirus at their pediatrician’s office, she said that risk is very low.

“But, there are other ailments out here that we are certainly concerned about as pediatricians and health care providers,” Thompson-Chittams said.

For example, Strep pharyngitis, known as strep throat, is common this time of year and can develop into peritonsillar abscess.

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“Now you have a collection of infection in the back of the throat, and the child may have issues with breathing,” requiring the abscess to be drained and IV antibiotics used, Thompson-Chittams said.

The Jean-Pierre family recently started “Family Photo Friday.” (Courtesy Jennifer Jean-Pierre)

New mom Jennifer Jean-Pierre, of Upper Marlboro, is sticking to her 3-month-old daughter Teagan’s vaccination schedule at TLC Pediatrics.

“It’s really important to be on the schedule, especially for your babies. You never know what may happen,” Jean-Pierre said. “If people aren’t vaccinating, then measles are going to be on the rise, or whooping cough.”

“We are part of the world, we are citizens of the world; and I want to make sure that we are protecting not only our daughter but others, as well,” Jean-Pierre said.

Vaccinations are just part of wellness checks.

“We’re doing surveillance of how that baby is developing and (watching for) certain pediatric conditions that are really, really important to make that diagnosis sooner than later,” Thompson-Chittams said.

The doctor tells of a recent close call with a baby who missed a wellness check.

“The baby missed her two-week visit because her mom was concerned about COVID-19. When we say the baby at a little over a month, we had an astute pedestrian who noticed that the baby’s head circumference went from the 25th to the 95th percentile,” Thompson-Chittams said.

The baby was rushed to the emergency room and diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which is fluid on the brain.

Jean-Pierre admits that the pandemic is scary, especially with a new infant, but she believes that communicating with your health care provider is critical. She felt comforted, for example, to receive newsletters, emails and text messages about precautions being taken.

“When we went for our last vaccination, they were constantly cleaning,” Jean-Pierre said. “There weren’t any other patients there, and they even had us at a different location, one that they don’t use that much, to limit exposure.”

This week is also National Infant Immunization Week.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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