Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Spring 2018 Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

March 26, 2018 – In case you hadn’t noticed – this past Tuesday – calendar winter gave way to calendar spring.

At that time, we also snuck in our new banner – the cold and solitary ‘boy making snow angel‘ was replaced by this colorful and congenial ‘two girls in a field of marigolds‘.

Since changing to a spring-themed banner, it has snowed twice so we now recognize that the banner change was nothing but wishful thinking.

Flu Season Winding Down

  • That was some February.
  • As you can see, there is some flu out there still but not very much.
  • Start planning for the 2018-2019 flu season. Mark your calendars: September and October are good months during which to get your flu vaccine so you can be protected throughout flu season.

Well Season Cranking Up

  • Call now to schedule your child’s camp or school physical.
  • If your child has already had their well visit / physical for this year, remember that we can complete school, athletic and camp forms based on information from that visit. There is no reason that you would have to go to an Urgent Care or a Pharmacy Clinic for your annual physical.

Holiday Week Coming Up

  • Our office will be closed for routine business on Friday, March 30th in observance of the Good Friday holiday.
  • Our holiday schedule is very similar to our weekend schedule and both are detailed here.
  • In short, we will offer a morning clinic at the Duraleigh office for urgent needs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • For predictable needs – like medication refills – try to call before Friday.

Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Winter 2018 Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

January 3, 2018 – This weekend’s low temperatures have made me feel better about the choice for this year’s winter banner picture (look at that kid in the snow – not a care in the world – we should all be so lucky).

Living in Raleigh, when you think of winter you don’t quickly jump to snow, but – after temperatures in the teens this weekend – snow doesn’t seem like such a far-away, crazy idea.

[Editor’s Note: So it appears today we may see some snow; stay tuned if you have an appointment later today or in the morning]

Flu Season So Far at RCAM 2017-2018

Predictably, we are starting to see more cases of influenza (I would ignore our numbers from “Christmas Week” – many patients are out of town and RCAM had shorter office hours on a few of those days).

As of the week before Christmas, the CDC did categorize North Carolina as not having had as much flu (so far) as other states.

If you look at what the CDC website (click on picture below for link) is saying about influenza activity here during that time, North Carolina estimates were characterized as “local activity” (yellow) whereas most other states were considered “widespread” (brown).

That is nice for the time being but North Carolina probably won’t stay “yellow” much longer. It appears that January and February will likely be months where we see bigger numbers of new cases of influenza.

“OK, I Get It, Flu is Coming… What Should I Do If My Child Has Symptoms?”

Let me introduce you to a very helpful website.

Our friends at the American Academy of Pediatrics via HealthyChildren.org have developed a very handy tool. The Symptom Checker provides background information about whatever illness or symptom you are asking about. It also provides guidelines for when to call and what care to provide.

Here is what the Symptom Checker says about influenza.

The online tools are good for quick answers, but sometimes you need to speak to a person with knowledge in that area (This happened to me with a gift I received this year. There was no instruction manual – unlike many, I like instruction manuals. There was no phone number to call and the online help wasn’t helpful. I really needed to talk to a person with knowledge about the product.).

So – please – feel free to give us a call if you prefer and let’s talk about it, person-to-person.

Big Thanks for Your Holiday Cards

A big thanks to everyone who sent us a holiday card in December. Our staff really enjoys seeing the pictures of our families and patients “through the years.” Some of you we displayed cards going back each year for 10 years. That is some real history.


Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Fall Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

Fall 2017 Web

September 25, 2017 – Friday was the official first day of autumn, so we officially said “Goodbye” to summer with its summer vacation and children who need to find things to do – and with that as our tradition here dictates we said “Goodbye” to our summer website banner picture of ‘Three Children at the Pool with a Pink Floaty‘.

I am sure those three children are now back in school and caught up in the purposeful rhythm of the academic cycle.

Today – also part of our tradition – we say “Hello” to autumn and to a new autumn website banner picture: ‘Mother, Daughter and Many Mini Pumpkins’.

Some things coming up at RCAM:

#1-Flu season is right around the corner – it is time to get your flu vaccine

  • Flu vaccine clinicsDr. Meares provided details about getting your flu vaccine at RCAM here. Like most years, in the early going we have plenty of private-supplied flu vaccine but are still awaiting our shipment of state-supplied flu vaccine. We will update here as we get more state-supplied vaccine.
  • We continue to recommend the flu vaccine for almost everyoneparticularly the very young, the very old, and those with conditions that would make having the flu much worse like asthma or diabetes.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has listed 10 things you should know about this year’s flu vaccine here.
  • If you are looking for a lot of information about the upcoming flu season and about the flu vaccine itself, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has compiled quite a bit here.

#2-Some New Faces at RCAM

  • In August we announced the arrival of Dr. Emily Ross. We have been very happy to have her join us. We are learning a lot from her as she learns a lot from us. She is working four days a week mostly in our Duraleigh office.
  • This month we welcomed a new nurse – Wendy B. – to RCAM. Along with being our newest nurse she is also our second ‘Wendy’ (to go with Wendy T.). That should not be confusing at all since we already have three nurses named Shannon.
  • You may also notice some new faces up front and new voices answering the phone. In the last 2 months, we have welcomed Jenny, Teresa (not to be confused with Front Office Manager Theresa), Denzlo and Allison. Such a large influx to our front office staff reflects only minimal turnover; rather, we have added some new positions in an effort to more completely cover the ever-growing list of front office responsibilities.

#3-Dr. Lehan’s Last Flu Season at RCAM

  • Next summer a true giant in our officeDr. Leigh S. Lehanwill retire after 34 years of pediatrics at Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine.
  • That seems like a long way off – but it seemed like Kobe Bryant’s last season with the Lakers just flew by – so we all need to start preparations for ‘Life After Lehan.’ That means the rest of us are going to have to get a lot more patient and a lot more gentle to make up for that loss – we better start now.

Dr Leigh S Lehan

Biggest difference: She does not put her hands over her head as much now when she is placed in front of a huge pink cake – although now as I write this I am doubting myself – time to put that theory to a test.


Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Summer Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

Kids having fun at the pool during the summer

June 21, 2017 – Yesterday was the official beginning of summer, so yesterday we said “goodbye” to spring – and “goodbye” to our spring website banner picture of ‘family walking on the partially tree-shaded path‘.

We welcome summer, and – with summer – we welcome a new summer website banner picture: “Welcome” we say to ‘three children at the pool with a pink floaty’.

A few things going on this summer at Raleigh Children and Adolescents Medicine:

  1. CHECK UPS: Did you know that your teenage child’s well visit (a.k.a. “checkup” or “complete physical”) meets the requirements for participating in school sports? At that visit, we can complete your child’s school sports form (and in Wake County that will cover the next 13 months of athletic participation). If you need a form completed and you have already had a check up this year – no worries – we can complete that form based on information gathered at that visit. There is no need for a ‘Physical’ at an Urgent Care or a Pharmacy Clinic. Just send us your school’s sports form with your portion already completed. You can drop it by, mail it, or send it to us through your email or fax.
  2. Dr Emily Ross joins RCAMNEW PEDIATRICIAN joining RCAM! Dr. Emily Ross begins August 1st. More about Dr. Ross later, but we are excited for her to join the RCAM-ily for the next 40 or so years (imagine the stories she will tell at RCAM’s 90th anniversary).
  3. ePRESCRIBING MEDICATIONS that previously required a hand-delivered, paper hard copy: For over 10 years, we have been able to send most prescriptions electronically directly to your pharmacy. This practice reduces transcription errors and typically is more convenient for our patients. However, certain medications have continued to require a paper hard copy that must then be hand-delivered to the pharmacy. The Pediatricians at RCAM are currently working through the authorization process for sending these prescriptions electronically. We are happy to offer a service that improves patient safety and convenience.
  4. PAYMENTS THROUGH THE PATIENT PORTAL: Do you prefer electronic bill paying? Coming in July, payments on your account will be able to be made electronically through our Patient Portal.
  5. CHINI WAPI DONATIONS: Many will recall Dr. Rick Gessner and his family spent 2 years on a medical mission in Kenya. His daughter Anna returns there this month and she has been collecting women’s underwear to distribute to women there living in prisons or remote tribes. You may have seen signs in our office about her trip. She collected more than 800 pairs. We estimate 200-250 were donated by families at RCAM. Thank you for your contributions.

And now, what would summer fun be without your pediatrician there to remind you about safety?

  • A brief video from the AAP about sun protection:

  • If you like lists (I know you are out there), here are some tips from the AAP’s website: healthychildren.org: Summer Safety Tips
  • Finally, from our local paper, The News & Observer, here is a video about what to do should you find yourself in a rip current. A terrifying thought, but more proof that having the right information can save your life:
RCAM hopes your family makes memories of a summer full of good health and good play!

Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Spring Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

2017 Spring

April 1, 2017 – So this is 12 days late – spring officially began on March the 20th – but can you blame someone for being a little confused about the change of season around here?

It is our tradition to change our website banner to match the season, and in that spirit we remove the sledders – that seems like a pretty foreign concept at this point – and introduce the family walking on the partially tree-shaded path (is it half-sunny or half-shaded? What kind of person are you?).

Dad appears pretty casual. Mom seems to have kept her options open for the day with her choice of clothing. All three seem to be fully participating in each other on this beautiful day (do those assumptions make me a half-sunny kind of person?).

You could imagine as they walk the parents might gently lift their son by his hands and swing him back and forth (WARNING: don’t fall for it – it’s a trap).

Let me take this opportunity as your pediatrician to provide this public service announcement: SWINGING OR PULLING A CHILD BY THEIR EXTENDED ARM IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Nursemaids Elbow

The possible resulting condition described above is Nursemaid’s Elbow. You can find more information at the link provided.

In short, it is a painful yet fortunately treatable (and preventable) condition – don’t let it mess up your half-sunny day.


Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Winter Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

2016-winter

January 1, 2017 – A common New Year’s Resolution revolves around getting “caught up.”

In that spirit, I would like to announce the arrival of our new winter-themed banner (from last week). Such mild weather – snow seems like a reach but we can always hope.

Here is a 5-word summary from the Farmer’s Almanac for winter weather in our region (I really don’t like the phrase “penetrating cold” though I am sure we could use the “very wet” weather):

winter-outlook

A few winter notes:

  • We still have flu vaccine available for everyone under 36 months old and for patients 3 years and older who receive state flu vaccine (includes those with Medicaid insurance)
  • Winter Safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics here.
  • Remember that tomorrow – Monday, January 2nd – our office will be closed for routine business in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday. Look here for details about office coverage if you have a concern about your child.

Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Fall Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

2016-autumn

September 25, 2016 – As we acclimate to a new school year – as the flow of school forms slows from Code Red Status to a light trickle – Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine welcomes the fall season.

The new season also means it is time to switch up our banner. And that makes sense too – because isn’t the image of a goggled-swimming little girl very appropriate for the summer months but intolerable as we begin to feel that crisp, cool nip in the air.

Cue pictures of children playing in leaves.

Ahhh. Now doesn’t this feel better.

When If we hit 90 again, maybe we’ll put the pool pic back up.

A few things about flu vaccine for this year:

  • Get your child a flu vaccine. As we prepare for the upcoming flu season, we want to make flu vaccine available for as many as we can. We recommend it for just about all of our patients – some more than others (those more at risk for complications from catching the flu like our youngest patients and our patients with chronic conditions like asthma are most recommended to get the flu vaccine).
  • As announced earlier, we have plenty of privately-supplied flu vaccine and have begun scheduling flu vaccination clinics.
  • We anticipate having state-supplied flu vaccine in the next few weeks. We will make that known as soon as we have it.
  • Finally, the Flumist nasal spray vaccine is not available this year.

Have a healthy and productive fall.

 


Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Summer Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

2016 Summer Web

June 21, 2016 – At Raleigh Childrens, we love the change of season.

In the spring and summer, it is always good to say “goodbye” to flu season and “hello” to a time that is generally healthier and when we are more physically active. It has become our tradition here to change the banner at the top of our webpage with each season, and – with that change yesterday – we officially welcomed summer.

At Raleigh Childrens, we also love children being active – particularly if they are enjoying themselves because that means they are likely to do it again and take some steps toward developing a good habit. With that in mind, it seemed appropriate to highlight this delightful young lady with her multi-colored fingernails who is pictured here and clearly having fun at the pool.

A few things to keep in mind for the summer:

Have a healthy and fun summer.