Protect Your Child with Safe, Effective Immunizations

November 05, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five and older.

Although COVID-19 in children is sometimes milder than in adults, some kids infected with the coronavirus can get severe lung infections, become very sick, and require hospitalization. Other children can get long lasting symptoms, called Long COVID, which may mean they might feel tired, have trouble concentrating, get headaches, or have trouble breathing when playing.

Getting the vaccine can protect your child and help stop the virus from spreading to others, including grandparents who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.

As Californians resume in person learning, it is time to schedule your child’s required vaccinations. Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective ways to protect your child’s health, and you can only get them in-person. According to the CDC, if your child is age five and up, they can and should get the COVID-19 vaccine along with the other shots that are required for summer camp or school. We encourage all families with eligible children to get them vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, Pfizer’s vaccine is the only approved COVID-19 vaccine for children.

Call us today at (888) 499-9303 to schedule your child’s vaccinations, well-child visit, or oral care examination.

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Why Should I Vaccinate My Child?

Getting your child vaccinated between birth and six years of age protects them from 14 deadly diseases, including measles, mumps, and polio. Vaccinating your child also helps protect your friends, family, and neighbors who cannot get vaccinated themselves because they are too young or have certain health problems.

Children are most vulnerable when they are born, and they depend on you to make the right choices to protect them. It is critical to stick to the vaccination schedule provided by your child’s doctor. No matter the age, preventing dangerous diseases outweighs any possible side effects such as slight pain, swelling, or low-grade fever that your child may experience. These are important steps toward building your child’s immune system during their critical developmental stages.

Routine vaccinations are also needed during the adolescent years. The CDC recommends four vaccines for almost all children ages 11-12: meningococcal, human papilloma virus (HPV), the collective Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), and influenza (the flu). Meningococcal diseases are rare but are spread by sharing food and drinks or kissing. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause genital warts, and is associated with cervical cancer in women, and other types of cancers in both men and women.

The Tdap vaccine is a booster for the children’s DTaP vaccine, necessary for older children because the effectiveness of the first vaccine wears off over time. Doctors recommend that all children six months and older receive the flu vaccine every year because the flu virus changes each year.

How Safe Are Vaccinations?

The short answer is very.

Most modern childhood vaccinations have been around for about 60 years. They were developed to stop the spread of infectious diseases that once killed thousands of people each year.
Vaccines are constantly re-evaluated and studied by scientists and researchers. Serious reactions to vaccines are rare, occurring only once in every million doses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Immunization Safety Office, the current vaccine supply in the United States is the safest in history.

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What About a COVID-19 Vaccination?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for persons five and older. Children and adults who get the COVID-19 vaccine do not have to wait to get other important vaccines, they can be scheduled on the same day

COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in young children and adolescents. Remember, your child will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine three weeks after their first shot.

Are There Rules or Laws About Vaccines?

The State of California requires all children attending public or private school to receive the doctor-recommended immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases. This mandatory vaccination helps keep overall immunity levels high and protects the community members, including other schoolchildren, who cannot receive vaccinations.

Free Vaccinations at AltaMed

We encourage you to follow your child’s immunizations schedule into adolescence, so your children are protected during every stage of their life. Here at AltaMed, all the vaccinations the CDC recommends are available free of cost! We provide childhood, adolescent, and HPV immunizations for patients 0-17 years of age.

Again, we want to assure you how safe it is to bring your entire family to AltaMed for routine health visits. It’s more important than ever to stay safe and healthy. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment with your provider to stay on track of your child’s immunization timeline.

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.

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Follow-up Visits for Your Newborn During a Pandemic

April 29, 2020

We know you’re doing everything you can to protect your newborn baby from COVID-19. However, it is vitally important that you bring your baby for in-person, follow-up visits with a pediatrician. Telephone visits are not an appropriate substitute for in-person, follow-up care.

As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, regular, in-person visits, starting at 48 hours after their release from the hospital, are crucial for your baby’s health. Your doctor needs to be able to monitor your baby’s progress, which includes checking:

  • Weight and length
  • Reflexes
  • How well the baby is feeding
  • Sleep patterns
  • If they’re peeing and pooping like they should

These checkups can help your doctor identify any problems early – which could be the difference between life and death.

These visits are also your chance to learn more about your baby and how to be a good parent. Bring your questions to your doctor – no question is too small.

Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions

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Your doctor’s office will explain the purpose of every visit and can even help you schedule these visits ahead of time. Make it a priority to keep every single appointment.

It’s even more important than ever that your baby receives the right immunizations at the right time, and your doctor will advise you on this. For older children, we offer drive-up immunization clinics at some of our locations. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to learn more.

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.

COVID-19, Flu, Allergies or a Cold? A Helpful Guide to Knowing the Difference

August 26, 2021

In Southern California, flu season seems to last longer and longer each year. Thanks to drier winters and less rain, allergy season starts earlier every year. And now, our nation is justifiably worried about COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus.

If you’ve got a sniffly nose, a sore throat, and a fever, you may not be 100% sure what you have. We’re here with information that will hopefully put your worries at ease, and help you determine what kind of care you need.

Cold

COVID-19 vs. the Flu (influenza)

When we started to learn about COVID-19, many people compared it to influenza, most commonly known as the flu, in terms of symptoms and how it spreads. Both are infectious respiratory illnesses, but they’re caused by entirely different viruses.

Both illnesses cause fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, body aches, fatigue, and even vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms can be mild or severe and turn into pneumonia. Both can be fatal.

It may be possible for a sick person to have symptoms so mild, they don’t realize they have the disease, and so they may walk around spreading the virus to healthy people.

Both can be spread from person to person from the droplets that come from sneezing, coughing or even talking.

Vaccinations are highly effective at preventing the flu and COVID-19. That’s why we strongly recommend everyone in your family get their shots every year. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It is free and available for everyone age twelve and older. If you have already received your COVID-19 vaccination, check with your physician or primary care provider about a potential booster shot. The Center for Disease Control is currently recommending a booster vaccination for moderate to severely immunosuppressed individuals.

Coronavirus vs. Allergies

Allergy symptoms are usually quite different from COVID-19 symptoms. Unlike COVID-19, which is a virus, allergies are your immune system’s response to a foreign substance. Allergy symptoms include itchy or runny nose, rashes or itchy skin, and watery eyes. In extreme cases of anaphylactic shock, your air passage shuts down, and it rapidly becomes difficult to breathe. Difficulty breathing is also a symptom of COVID-19, but with allergies, the onset is almost immediately after encountering a specific trigger.

Allergies aren’t contagious like a COVID-19, cold or flu, so there’s no chance of spreading it from one person to the next. Allergies do have a genetic component, which is why it may seem like other people in your family have them at the same time you do. Unless you do allergy testing and shots, your best method for preventing allergic reactions is to keep an allergy diary and then stay away from your triggers.

You can usually treat allergy symptoms with common, over-the-counter remedies, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and medicated lotions to help relieve itchy rashes and hives.

COVID-19 vs. the Common Cold

Mild cases of COVID-19 may be mistaken for a cold. Because many of the symptoms are the same, it can be tough to tell the difference. Experts say that if your first symptoms included a sore throat and runny nose, it’s likely just a cold. A fever could be a sign that it’s something more than a cold.

The common cold is famously difficult to prevent. But following the same protocol for COVID-19 should help protect you. 

  • Follow local and state safety guidelines.
  • Wear a face mask when indoors or in crowds to protect yourself and others.
  • Maintain hand hygiene — use hand sanitizer to clean hands frequently, and wash hands for 20 seconds at a time. 
  • Practice physical distancing — stay six feet apart from others whether inside or outside. 
  • Wipe down any surfaces you touch.

There’s not much you can do for a cold. Time-tested advice includes getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, using a humidifier, and taking age-appropriate over-the-counter remedies.

Cold

When Should I Go to the Doctor?

First off, the good news is that about 80% of COVID-19 cases resolve quickly on their own when the person stays home, gets rest, and treats the symptoms.

Unless your symptoms get dramatically worse or you feel short of breath, you may not need to seek treatment (though it's OK to call your doctor and ask). AltaMed is advising our patients to treat mild symptoms just like you would treat a cold by staying home, taking over-the-counter cold treatments like Tylenol, ibuprofen, or Nyquil. Avoid other people until your symptoms go away for at least 72 hours without having to take these medications.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, please confirm with your doctor the timing of when you are no longer contagious.

To learn more about COVID-19 precautions, treatments, and news, bookmark our FAQ page.