As a brand new mom one of the things I appreciated the most about our pediatric office, well maybe a few things, is that they had several waiting rooms. There are separate waiting rooms for sick visits, well-child visits and there is also a waiting room for newborns. They also usually reserve the earlier appointments for infants as this helps to limit the volume of people your infant would come in contact with. Simply having a designated space for my brand new baby (who hadn’t had her first set of vaccinations yet) put an ease in my mind that was already in overdrive and survival mode of learning how to parent a newborn. Now she would be less likely to become ill days later after having a visit to the doctor’s office.
My baby can become ill after visiting a doctor’s office. That sounds like irony, right? It is possible that it can happen and frankly at times it does happen. Your child can become infected from cross-contamination of toys, play tables or other commonly shared items in waiting rooms as well as other fomites in the examination rooms.
The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their guidelines from 2007 to now include the encouragement of pediatric offices to have policies that address the method and frequency of cleaning toys available to patients. Other updates are in summary below:
1. Offices should not include “furry” or “plush” toys such as stuffed animals. They harbor germs and are hard to clean.
2. Parents should consider bringing their own toy from home to keep their child entertained while waiting.
3. Parents should inquire about the influenza immunization policy for the office staff.
4. “Hand hygiene is the single most important act you can do to prevent the transmission of infection” - professor Mobeen Rathore
5. Endorsement of mandatory flu vaccination for healthcare providers.
6. Special isolation precautions for children with certain diagnoses and/or syndromes.
7. Health care providers should practice standard precautions and cough etiquette.
8. Timely public health notifications of specific reportable diseases.
To see a complete review of the new guidelines CLICK HERE
Author: Catricia Tilford, M.D. Pediatrician