Our Blog

By Amherst Pediatrics
July 30, 2020
Category: Child Safety
Pediatric Regular Check-UpsTo ensure that your child grows up healthy and strong, they need to see a pediatrician for regular check-ups, screenings, and vaccines. These well-child visits are incredibly important for your child’s health and wellbeing and begin within the first week after your child is born. Since your child will be visiting a pediatrician regularly, you must find one that fits your family’s needs. Even before your baby is born you should shop around for a pediatrician so that once your baby comes into the world you can start giving them the routine check-ups and care they need for a healthy and long life.

Getting Regular Check-ups
These routine check-ups with the pediatrician are incredibly important for your child’s health and development. Within the first few years of life, your child’s development is rapid and these check-ups allow our pediatrician to spot problems or developmental delays early. These check-ups are also focused on preventive care, which means providing your child with vaccines and screenings early on to prevent health problems in the future.

These check-ups are also important for parents, as it gives them a chance to ask questions they may have about their child’s sleeping and eating habits, or other behaviors their child may be displaying. During your child’s regular pediatric checkups, your doctor will check your child’s height, weight, vision, and hearing. These visits begin within the first five days after birth and will continue at:
  • 1 month old
  • 2 months old
  • 4 months old
  • 6 months old
  • 9 months old
  • 12 months old
  • 15 months old
  • 18 months old
  • 24 months old
  • 30 months old
  • 3 years old
Once your child turns 3 years old, they may only need to visit their pediatrician once a year for a check-up. Of course, children dealing with certain health issues may still need to come in more often for care.

Getting Vaccinated
Vaccines are also an important part of these visits, and immunizations are truly one of the best and most effective ways to keep your child healthy and free from potentially dangerous diseases such as measles, polio, and hepatitis B. Your pediatrician can provide your child with all the vaccinations they need, particularly before starting school.

Looking for a pediatrician? Need to schedule your child’s next check-ups? Our pediatric team is here to address any questions and concerns you may have. From immunizations to sports injuries, we handle it all.
By Amherst Pediatrics
July 16, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Sports Injuries   Injury  
Child's Sports InjuriesRegular physical activity is so important for your child’s health. If they have decided to start playing on a sports team this can also be a great way for them to build confidence and socialize. Of course, pediatricians also understand just how important it is to keep your little athlete healthy both on and off the field. If your child does sustain an injury your pediatrician may be the first person to help, so it’s important to find a pediatrician that you and your family trust.
 
Preventing Injuries
The goal is always to help your child prevent sports injuries and your pediatrician can become an integral part of providing the preventive care your child needs to stay healthy. This starts with an annual sports physical, in which your child will receive a comprehensive physical exam from a qualified pediatrician to make sure that they are healthy enough for their chosen sport. Your pediatrician can also look at your child’s lifestyle to determine if any changes need to be made to their training routine, eating habits, or sleep to improve performance and reduce the risk for injury.

A pediatrician is an integral part of keeping your child healthy and safe while participating in sports. They can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have, as well as recommend certain conditioning and training exercises that can help with injury prevention. Your child should also be wearing the appropriate protective gear including a helmet when playing sports.
 
Treating Sports Injuries
Sometimes, despite taking all the necessary precautions, your child still sustains a sports injury. The moment your child sustains an injury they need to stop playing immediately and avoid any physical activity until the injury has fully healed. The most common sports injuries in kids are minor strains and sprains which can be treated at home through the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). However, if pain persists or gets worse, it’s important to see your child’s pediatrician.

Your child should visit a pediatrician right away if you suspect that they have a broken bone, dislocation, concussion, or if they are dealing with severe pain or swelling. If your child is unable to walk or put weight on the affected leg, this is also a sign to see a pediatrician as soon as possible. The sooner sports injuries are addressed and properly treated the better.
By Amherst Pediatrics
July 16, 2020
Tags: Brushing  

So, your child’s teeth just started to come in. We know that this can be an exciting milestone for parents. Of course, this also means considering your child’s oral health. Just as you brushingbrush and floss your teeth every day, you will now need to begin brushing your child’s teeth. While the techniques and practices will be a bit different and probably less time-consuming (seeing as your child probably only has one or two teeth at the moment), here are some tips for how to brush your child’s teeth properly,

  • Even before your child’s teeth start to erupt it’s important to keep their gums healthy and clean by wiping them with a soft, damp cloth after each feeding and right before bedtime. Your child will get their first tooth between 6-14 months.
  • Yes, even children’s teeth can develop decay. As soon as the tooth is formed it can develop decay, so it’s important that you start brushing it as soon as you see it.
  • Purchase a child-sized toothbrush from your local drugstore and wet the soft-bristled toothbrush with water to brush your child’s tooth or teeth (at this point you don’t need toothpaste).
  • Your child won’t start needing toothpaste until they are 2 years old. From 2-3 years old your child only needs toothpaste the size of a grain of rice in order to clean their teeth. After 3 years old, you can upgrade to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Just as you do for your own teeth, you should also brush your child’s teeth twice a day (once in the morning and again at night right before going to bed).
  • Use soft, circular motions when brushing the teeth and the gums. Again, just as you do your own teeth, you should brush for a minimum of two minutes. Don’t forget to brush their tongue and roof of their mouth, too.
  • We know that your child may not fully understand the brushing process, so it’s a good idea to tell them what you are doing and the importance of brushing their teeth. Even though they can’t brush their own teeth yet it’s still great to show them how to brush so that when it’s time to start brushing their own teeth they understand how to do it.
  • Most children can start brushing their teeth around 7-8 years old, but still need to be supervised by an adult until around 10-11 years old.

Have questions about caring for your baby’s developing smile? Keeping your child’s smile healthy is so important for their development and practicing good oral hygiene at home will ensure that your child’s smile stays healthy.

By Amherst Pediatrics
July 16, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Vision Test  
Vision TestParents want nothing more than their children to be healthy and happy. This applies to every element of their well-being, including their eyes! Your pediatrician recommends that all children receive a comprehensive eye exam by the age of one. These tests detect any problems that require correction. Prolonging an exam can damage your child’s eyes for life. 
 
When Should My Child’s Vision Be Tested?
Your child should have had several tests done by the age of five. This confirms for your pediatrician that they are developing normally. Follow this recommended time-table: 
  • At birth: this is performed right away on your child, as part of the newborn physical assessment.
  • 6 months: your pediatrician evaluates your child’s eyes at their regular appointment. 
  • 3.5 years old: at your child’s appointment, the pediatrician tests their eyes and also their visual acuity. 
  • 5 years old: a standard assessment performed at a pediatric appointment. 
After this, eye screenings are implemented at your discretion. Your pediatrician will check your child’s eyes at their annual checkup. If your child fails an eye exam, you need to schedule a full pediatric eye evaluation right away. 
 
Another reason you should get your child’s eyes checked is if you have a family history of eye conditions. This is especially true if you have other children that have vision problems.
 
Why Does My Child Need an Eye Exam If They Passed the Vision Screening?
There are certain circumstances where your pediatrician refers your child for a full eye examination. This is common for infants that show signs of a lazy eye or crossed eyes. Other possible red flags in infants are problems tracking objects or a strangely colored pupil. 
 
Is your child struggling in school? Don’t jump to conclusions without an eye examination from your pediatrician. If a child can’t see the board or follow along with lessons, their performance will suffer. Corrective eyewear and other treatment options can help. Eye examinations are even more important for children with learning disabilities. Eye problems can make coping with a learning disorder much harder. 
 
What to Expect at Your Child’s Eye Examination
Your child has nothing to be worried about at their appointment. There is nothing scary or painful! The pediatrician will ask you about your family history, especially anything related to eye health. From there, they check your child’s pupil and muscle function, along with sharpness.
 
In certain cases, your pediatrician will dilate the eyes. This is performed by placing special drops in the eyes. After about forty minutes, the pediatrician can examine the major structures. 
By contactus@amherstpeds.com
June 09, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: coronavirus   COVID-19  

Amherst Pediatrics

June 8, 2020

 

As Spring turns to Summer, we thankfully find ourselves on the declining edge of the COVID-19 curve. With fewer and fewer cases and hospitalizations, we are now moving slowly along with the phased reopening of society. Having completed phase 1, we now move onto phase 2 - the gradual and stepwise re-opening of restaurants (for outdoor seating) and some retail business with restictions. While this re-opening brings well-needed relief to our economy and our senses, it by no means signifies the end of this crisis. In fact, with the opening up of society comes an increase in the risk of exposure. Understandably, many of our families have come to us with questions about how to adapt as we navigate these uncharted waters. Should our children go to day camps if they open? Should they finally be allowed to play with some of their friends? And what about us, can we begin to mingle more with our friends, neighbors, and family? As quarantine fatigue sets in and the warm weather beckons, these are the questions we all find ourselves asking. Though the temptations are huge, we must remain vigilant to successfully enter our "new normal".

 

Every family is unique

This is obvious but when it comes to how we segue into a more open society, every family's unique situation is important. Some families have decided to form a "COVID Bubble" - that is, to merge with one or more people or families who practice equally strict infection preacutions. This is possible to do safely only if you can trust in everyone's strict adherence to the same rigorous standards of safety. It is difficult to do if some of the adults work outside of the home or regularly come into contact with others outside of "the bubble". Likewise, children must limit contact to those within "the bubble". The more people or families allowed into "the bubble", the less safe this is.

 

The uniqueness of each family situation is also important when it comes to weighing the risks and benefits of attending summer camps, classes, shopping, and dining out. While the benefits of these activities are huge in terms of physical activity, child development, and emotional and psychological health, the risks involved must be considered. If your family or social circle includes people at higher risk of complications from infection (for example older individuals and those with underlying health conditions), then you will need to consider these factors when making decisions about how to change your social movements. 

 

Respect the 3 W's and the 3 C's

When making these important decisons about moving through society, it is critically important that we adhere to the 3 W's:

 

1. Wear a mask at all times when you may come within 6 feet of someone outdoors, or 10-12 feet indoors.

2. Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer when not near a source of soap and water.

3. Wait at home if you're sick.

 

It is equally important to avoid the 3 C's:

 

1. Closed spaces with poor ventilation.

2. Crowded places with groups of people.

3. Close-contact settings, such as one-on-one conversations.

 

Here are some useful articles to help with your social planning:

A guide to negotiating a COVID "bubble" with other people

How do you decide if children can play together again?

 

As we work through this together, we at Amherst Pediatrics continue to be available to answer your questions and to provide you with all of your pediatric health care needs. All of our staff have been trained to meet the requirements of the phased approach to reopening.

 

 

Amherst Pediatrics in the era of COVID-19

Keeping you safe in our office

As discussed below, most of our visits are being conducted virtually. However, while we are making every effort to keep you home, there may be some occasions for which an in-office visit is most approprate. Please be assured that Amherst Pediatrics takes your safety extremely seriously, and we have put work-flows in place to make sure your in-office visit is as safe and stress-free as possible.

  • Physical distancing: Floor markers have been placed throughout our office reminding people to keep a safe distance from others.
  • Mandatory mask policy: Anyone over 2 years of age entering our office is required to wear an appropriate face covering over their mouth and nose at all times. There are no exceptions to this policy. If for some reason you do not have an appropriate face covering, please call our front desk upon arrival and a staff member will meet you at your vehicle to provide you with one.
  • Provider use of PPE: Our providers always wear N-95 masks, eye protection, and gloves when interacting with patients. Providers come to work wearing a clean set of hospital scrubs or office-only clothing.
  • Meticulous cleaning: Our office is cleaned meticuloulsy on an ongoing basis. All exam rooms, clinical-use surfaces, and equipment are disinfected after each and every use.
  • Managed appointment times: Appointments are scheduled so that well-vists and illness-related vists occur during different times of the day.
  • Strict precautions for respiratory and COVID-19 patients: Patients we believe may have COVID-19 are typically directed to appropriate outside facilities for testing and/or evaluation. Any patients we see with respiratory illness or who are thought to possibly have COVID-19 are seen outside of our office in a rear parking lot. For these encounters, our providers take all appropriate precautions, including the use of full PPE.

 

In-Office Well Care Visits

Because many children have understandably been kept home over the past couple of months, many have fallen behind on receiving vitally important immunizations. Becasue of this, and based on current recommednations, we are requesting that all children and adolescents who are due for well care visits and are in need of immunizations be scheduled for in-office well-care visits. If you or your child is due for a check-up and is need of immunizations, and you have not already been contacted by our office, please schedule an appointment now through the MyChart - Patient Portal.

 

In-Office Urgent Care Visits

While we are making every effort to keep you home, there may be some occasions for which an in-office visit is best. If you think you or your child may need to be seen in our office, or are unsure if an in-office or virtual evaluation is more appropriate, please send us a message with your concern through the MyChart - Patient Portal so we can help determine the best way for us to help you.

 

Virtual Visits

Amherst Pediatrics continues to make every effort possible to keep you safe at home during this unprecedented time. To that end, we have successfully implemented telemedicine or Virtual Visits for many types of appointments. These visits may be scheduled through the MyChart - Patient PortalPlease see the Virtual Visit page for more information about scheduling and participating in a Virtual Visit.

 

  • Virtual Well Care: We are successfully conducting modified check-ups through our integrated Zoom video interface. These well-care visits are being scheduled for patients of any age who are not due for immunizations and who do not have another specific need to be seen in-person in our office.
  • Virtual Urgent Care: Many illnesses or other concerns can be managed through Virtual Visits rather than through typical in-office visits. If you are unsure whether your particular concern is suitable for a Virtual Visit, please send us a message through the MyChart - Patient Portal and we will determine which type of visit is most appropriate for your particular concern.
  • Virtual Follow-up Care: Many of our patients require regular, routine follow-up care to manage chronic issues such as asthma, diabetes, eczema, acne, and ADHD. These visits are exprementy important to make sure your condition is being managed appropriately and to reassess any medications you may be taking. If you or your child is due for a routine follow-up visit, please schedule one now through MyChart. The typical recommended timeline for these follow-ups varies, so please check with us if you are unsure when you need to be seen back.
  • Virtual Behavioral Health Care: Regular follow-up care for behavioral health issues is extremely important. If you are in need of a follow-up visit, please schedule one now. Again, if you are uncertain whether you are due for a follow-up, please send us a message through the MyChart - Patient Portal and we will be happy to assist you.




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Office Hours
Monday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Tuesday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Wednesday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Thursday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Friday:8:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Saturday:12:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Sunday:12:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Contact Us

Our Address
31 Hall Dr.
Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: (413) 253-3773
Fax: (413) 256-0215
Email: mail@amherstpeds.com
 

Please note temporary office hours
during the COVID-19 pandemic

Patient Care Hours:
Monday-Friday

8:00 AM - 4:45 PM: In-office and Telehealth visits
4:45 - 7:00 PM: Telehealth visits only

Sat-Sun
12:30 - 3:30
Telehealth visits only

Due to the pandemic, we ask that you please remain at home if you or your child is ill. If you have concerns about how your child is feeling, please contact us by sending a message through this patient portal. The clinicians will be able to respond to you during our regular hours. Calling the office may present a further delay in response times.

The COVID-19 situation is ever unfolding. We are dedicated to the safety of our patients and staff. Please refer to our website for updates on this changing situation.

* Please note: It is our policy that we do not approve referral requests for visits to outside urgent care centers during times that our office is open.

Holidays
We are open for urgent visits only on most Holidays. Our office is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.