The latest news shows that the United States is close to having ‘exponential spread’ of coronavirus in nearly half of our states in the country and we continue to report the highest number of cases seen to date. As if parents didn’t have enough to worry about, the hardest part may still be ahead as we approach the later fall and winter season this year.
A potential climb towards the “third peak” of coronavirus cases may be on the horizon, according to Christina Caron (NY Times,10/23/20). Although an upcoming surge of the virus may sound frightening, experts say there are things parents can do right now to start preparing.
Here are 5 ways to help protect your family’s physical and mental health:
1. Make sure your family vaccinations are up to date
Experts recommend that both adults and children 6 months and older be fully vaccinated against influenza by the end of October.
Remember to also check with your pediatrician to make sure your child is up-to-date on other vital vaccines for diseases such as measles, tetanus and whooping cough.
2. Confirm your backup plan for child care needs
As we saw in the spring, child care solutions can be tough to find.
With cases going up and down, there may be closures at different times for schools at all levels. It’s helpful for parents to plan for all possible scenarios for the coming fall and winter.
Make sure you understand your day care or school policies well in advance.
Look into alternate options for child care (perhaps a few trusted babysitters or grandparents who live nearby) and discuss their availability and willingness to assist in advance of a shutdown.
If your children are exposed to someone with Covid-19, your family may have to quarantine for 14 days. At that point, you won’t have the option of backup child care because you’ll need to stay away from people who aren’t in your immediate family. Spend some time now thinking about how you’ll get through those 14 days.
3. Remember the importance of your family’s mental health
As we know, there is a great deal of anxiety in both parents and children due to the pandemic uncertainty.
Fear and anxiety about what could happen can be overwhelming and may cause strong emotions in adults and children. In addition, public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.
In your family, it may be helpful to avoid speculating about the future and instead, focus on the present while implementing structure and routines.
Stick to consistent bedtimes and mealtimes.
Focus on expressing gratitude – every morning, you can make a routine of listing a few things that you or your children woke up to and felt grateful for in their lives.
4. Buy necessary supplies
You may feel more secure if you are prepared with needed items.
There is no need to hoard, but simply have a few necessary items on hand in the event of any illness for you or a member of your family.
Some of these items may include:
A) Fever reducers (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
C) Hydrating liquids (such as pedialyte or apple juice)
D) Disinfecting wipes
E) Alcohol wipes for your electronic devices
F) Extra formula, baby wipes and diapers
G) Long-lasting food and snacks (such as canned beans, nuts and frozen vegetables and fruits)
H) Puzzles and games to keep your family entertained
5. Be aware of pandemic fatigue
As the pandemic drags on, following Covid-19 prevention guidelines can feel like more and more of a challenge.
However, the experts report that the reason we’re seeing increasing cases now is due to relaxed containment measures.
Please do not let pandemic fatigue prevent you from keeping yourself – and others – healthy and safe. The trick is to balance physical distancing with social connectedness.
It is critical to wear a mask if you’re going to spend time with people outside of your household, wash your hands frequently (or use hand sanitizer), maintain six feet of distance from others when possible and avoid crowded indoor spaces.
The pandemic can be exhausting. At times it can feel depressing and even interminable. But if your family makes good choices now, you’ll feel stronger and more mentally prepared to ride this out.
With school starting this week, parents and students will face the challenges of online learning once again. Learning and growing with the “new normal” is very important for both parents and students. It is also important to help children feel safe, keep healthy routines, manage their behavior and build resilience, according to Dr. Natasha Mathias, DMD.
Homeschooling experts and moms have come up with a few tips and tricks to help get this school year off to the best start including:
During online learning, students can add a social element by meeting in smaller groups outdoors (while practicing social distancing and wearing masks) to go over classwork or study new materials. This will allow students to see classmates and friends “in person” safely.
At home, keep children focused on their schoolwork by creating a specific study area. Decorate it together with your child to involve them in what their “office” will look and feel like. Assigning an area reserved for classwork can help prevent children from distractions.
It is important to keep a routine during online learning. Getting dressed, eating and brushing their teeth everyday can help to make it feel more like a school day rather than a day off.
Encouragement can also be a big help especially when dealing with new technology and resources.
Invest in a good headset for yourself and your child.
Expect your students to turn off their phones and put them in a designated place during school hours.Giving your tween and teen students a respite from their phones is also one of the best things you can do to support their ability to focus, according to Dr. Natasha Mathias, DMD, in addition to the following advice:
Organize a plan at the beginning of each day to develop a schedule for who needs dedicated quiet time (and when) as a good strategy.
Parents can try to schedule lunch breaks to coordinate with kids, when possible.
Interacting over a meal is a great way to reduce screen fatigue.
Lastly, she notes that parents’ attitudes will influence those of your children. Adopt a positive outlook in the morning, even if it seems impossible during these uncertain times.
Make building strong family relationships a priority. Reach out to neighbors, friends, and others in your community to check in, offer support, and connect virtually. We will get through this together.
We look forward to celebrating together the end of school, start of the summer season and an upcoming July 4th holiday weekend ahead! Please see details below.
- Thursday, July 2 at 3:00pm
- Parents will drive children by Sparkles Dentistry, located at: 76 Bellevue Avenue, Montclair, NJ
- Once you arrive, your children will be able to leave the car and visit the Good Humor Ice Cream Truck to select an ice cream treat of their choice to celebrate all they have accomplished!
- Parents, please approach from Grove Street and make a right on Bellevue Avenue. You can also park on the Fairway and walk over.
- Let Sparkles Dentistry bring you a treat to bring a few smiles!
- The Good Humor Ice Cream Trucks are cleaned between visits and all servers are masked.
- Please let us know if you will attend: firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking the button below to contact us and add your name to the list.
Office Health and Safety Update: What is the Difference between Medical and Dental Aerosol?
- We are not dealing with any fluids coming up from the lungs.
- Suction devised are and have always been in use in our office.
- There will be no spitting into the sink or cuspidor in our office.
- We have changed the HVAC unit and recently installed an upgraded device that allows multiple levels of filtration, including UV.
- Lastly, our office is awaiting Jade (surgically clean air) Air Scrubber units that circulate the air at a rapid rate withing the treatment rooms – to arrive soon.
Summer Hours and Feedback
Please note our NEW and REVISED Summer Office Hours below:
We hope you are happy with our service and would consider posting an online review. Your response will help us serve you better in the future. Click the link below to provide feedback. Thank you!
Prior to your Appointment
Prior to your appointment, you will receive an email questionnaire that must be filled and returned no later than 10 AM the day of your appointment.
Preparing for the Appointment
- Patients, please brush your teeth just before leaving home and use the bathroom. Our office bathroom will not be accessibleto patients at this time.
- If you have any orthodontic appliances, please make sure to bring them with you tothe appointment.
- We urge children to come prepared with their own sunglasses, should the overheadlight be an issue.
Arrival to the Appointment
- When you arrive at your appointed time, please call 973-744-3127. Parents, please be available to review plan with staff via phone and process payment.
- A staff member will come out to your vehicle, review a few questions and measure the patient’s temperature. If temperature is higher than 100 F, the appointment will need to be rescheduled. Based on the nature of the appointment, the patient may be given a mouthwash.
- All patients must wear a mask to enter the building
- Once ready for the appointment, only the patient will be accompanied to the appointment room that has been sanitized and prepared. At this time, we will not be inviting parents or attendants into treatment rooms.
- We are trying as far as possible, to conduct contactless billing and payment. This will be done when you call to let us know you’ve arrived.
During the Appointment
- At the appointment, we will be keeping all windows open to promote circulation of fresh air.
- Once outside temperatures rise and the air conditioning is turned on, we will using Jade Surgically Clean Air units.
- The staff will be wearing additional protective equipment such as visors and surgical gowns. This is for patient safety andnot meant to intimidate the children.
- We will be keeping appointments short. Physical distancing will be enforced to minimize contact.
- We will be limiting additional family members or siblings in the office. This isfor the safety of thepatientand our staff.If achild absolutely requires a parent, we will review that ahead of time andmake arrangements for one parent to be present.
Home Care – Dental Guidelines
- Avoid any and all sticky /tacky foods.
- Floss diligently
- Brush twice a day
- Avoid juice and sugary foods
If you are an orthodontic patient, you MUST read the information below
Our office staff hopes this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy during these uncertain times.
Home Care – Orthodontic Guidelines
- With this particular appliance, it is crucial that everything is kept very clean.
- The ring braces, and also the metal bar that sits on the inner side of the teeth, should be brushed at least twice a day (ideally after every meal – please rinse vigorously with water if brushing cannot be completed after a meal). This will help prevent the gums from growing over the metal bar. Please see the braces section of this message for more tips on cleaning.
- If you/your child has an expander on the top teeth, please be aware that our instructions on turning have a time limit (for example, we may have requested 1 turn/day for 1 week). Please discontinue turning the expander on the day you were instructed to do so.
- If you are not sure, please call us at 973-744-3127, and we will be happy to provide you with your specific instructions. Please make sure the expander is kept clean with rinsing and brushing. Please see the braces section of this message for tips on cleaning.
- Please proceed as normal with your instructed routine. Please be extra mindful of hand hygiene before and after insertion and removal. Be sure to clean on and around the ring braces. Please refer to the braces section of the message for tips on cleaning.
- One of the most important things you/your child should work on is excellent hygiene. This means rinsing and brushing well after every meal. Vigorous rinses with water should be done if brushing cannot be completed after a meal. If food is not removed from the tooth or brace, it will cause gingivitis (the gums will swell, bleed and produce pain).
- If you/your child notices signs of gingivitis, it is very important to “brush through it”. The gums may hurt and bleed more during brushing. If you are experiencing this – keep brushing! Do not shy away if you see blood or if it hurts. This is an indication that more/better brushing is needed. A few days of better brushing will eventually reduce the bleeding, swelling and pain.
- Remember, you want to keep everything clean. This means every surface of the tooth, the gum line, and also any metal you may see. For braces, this means the tooth structure above, below, and in-between the braces, as well as the braces them self (don’t forget the back surfaces of the teeth also!).
- In addition to gingivitis, cavities and white spot lesions /decalcifications (permanent white stains that are the start of cavities) can occur if proper hygiene is not maintained.
- Proxy brushes (they look like mini pipe cleaners and can be used to clean under the wire or in small crevices that a tooth brush may have difficulty accessing). These can be purchased at most supermarkets, pharmacies or online.
- Floss threaders or power floss – aids to help floss underneath the wire. These can also be purchased at most supermarkets, pharmacies or online.
- Water flossers – great tools to help remove food stuck between the teeth and around the braces. I recommend using the water flosser prior to brushing to make the brushing more productive. Water flossers can be purchased on online.
- Antibacterial mouth wash
- If you are using rubber bands, please switch to half time wear (~12 hours a day). An easy way to get in 12 hours is to place the rubber bands after dinner, and then sleep with them in overnight. If you need extra rubber bands, feel free to contact us (973-744-3127).
- An additional note with rubber bands – be extra mindful with used rubber bands to help prevent the spread of germs. Please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after every time you remove or replace the rubber bands.
Sparkles Dentistry for Children will remain closed until the government lifts mandatory closure for dental practices.
While we continue to find ourselves “Safer at Home,” this is a great time to focus on your health – so be sure to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and exercise! I also wanted to send along some resources that support your healthy habits by staying active and focusing on YOU and your child’s HEALTH.
- Avoid any and all sticky /tacky foods.
- Floss diligently
- Brush twice a day
- Avoid juice and sugary foods
May is Better Sleep Month
- Breathe through your nose, it helps strengthen your immune system.
- We will be able to provide at-home sleep studies (disposable units shipped to your home), at a much lower price than what is offered through hospitals.
- We are still providing virtual myofunctional therapy consultations and appointments (via teletherapy).
- You can still order CPAP, MyoMunchee and / or Myobrace if needed.
The CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and now detected in 60 locations internationally, including the United States. The disease it causes has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
News around COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and those of us outside of China are not sure whether to panic or stay calm. It is important to remember that knowledge is power and we fight fear with facts. To date, officials have reported that most Americans are not at risk of contracting this virus.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 ?
The majority of infected people appear to have mild infections. Reported symptoms of those infected include:
- Fever (may not be present in the young or old, or immunocompromised)
- Uncomplicated upper respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, malaise, headache, muscle aches)
- Difficulty breathing
- Mild pneumonia
- Severe pneumonia (the severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19 is now named severe acute respiratory infection – SARI)
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
- Sepsis and Septic shock
- Death (certain population set)
Similar to the influenza virus, the elderly and those with underlying chronic medical conditions appear to be most at risk for serious complications and death from COVID-19. However, unlike influenza, children so far appear to be relatively protected.
The CDC also recommends that providers test for other respiratory pathogens. Because let’s face it, we’re still in the middle of flu season.
How can you protect your family from COVID-19 ?
- Wash hands frequently. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you’re sick, unless you need urgent medical attention.
- Cover your cough with your elbow or tissues. Teach your kids proper cough etiquette.
- Keep your distance. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who is obviously sick with fever and/or respiratory symptoms.
- Irrigate your nose. Options for nasal irrigation are a regular saline spray, Neti pot, and other sinus rinses like Neilmed.
- Load up on foods and spices with antiviral properties. These include coconut oil, raw garlic, oregano, ginger, kimchi and other fermented foods such as: walnut, pomegranate, green tea, apple cider vinegar, and medicinal mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkeytail).
- Eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. They are full of antioxidants which will destroy the free radicals that weaken our immune system and are responsible for making us feel sick when we catch a bug.
- Stay well-hydrated. Stick to water, coconut water, herbal teas, and bone broth. No soda or sugary drinks, please!
- Avoid simple sugars and processed/junk food. Keeping blood sugar levels healthy has been shown to improve immune system activity.
- Get fresh air and moderate daily exercise. Moderate exercise can boost the production of macrophages, the kind of white blood cells that “eat” bacteria and viruses.
- Get adequate sleep. An increase in sleep actually increases the number of your white blood cells.
- Minimize stress. Emotional stress creates physiological stress in our bodies that lowers our immune defenses and makes us more vulnerable to illness.