By Dr. Natasha Burgert
What you should ask your doctors in a virtual check- up?
Anything you want! Virtual visits can be used for both wellness and illness care. For illness visits, prepare some basic information before the visit starts. Start with a simple height and weight using things you have at home. If your child has fever, a recent temperature is also helpful. Make a list of medications (prescription and over-the-counter) that your child is taking and a timeline of the symptoms of concern. That will help the conversation stay organized. If you have any specific questions or things that you are worried about, it helps to write them down too. These visits can be rather quick and you want to be sure you get all the information you need.
For wellness visits, your doctor may have some developmental screens or mental health assessments to complete, so be sure to ask what documents are needed prior to the appointment time. Grab a height and weight, too. Now is also the time to write down questions about development expectations, nutrition goals, fitness goals, or academic issues. Some families may have questions about behavior management, toilet training, or sleep issues. The time is yours! Keep in mind, we will certainly want to talk with your child as well. Prepare them that the doctor may have questions about their body and brain health. This will be just like the helpful conversations we have in the office.
These visits are best performed within your child’s medical home, with the doctors who know your family best. Plus, they can be really fun — We enjoy seeing kids at home and meeting family pets! Most importantly, these visits ensure you are connected with a care team who is ready and willing to help, especially in these unsettling times.
What happens to a child when allergies go untreated?
Most parents don’t know that untreated allergies account for 2 million lost school days per year in the US. It’s a staggering reminder that allergy symptoms can be so unbearable, kids cannot do the work of learning and play. Seasonal allergies cause runny nose, sneezing, cough, often accompanied by itching eyes, nose, and mouth. Kids can also present with increased fatigue, inattention at school, and poor athletic performance without proper allergy care. The challenge is to find safe and effective medications to control these issues without undesired drowsiness or “zombie”-like behavior. The good news is that there are great over-the-counter options for families to try.
How to combat any children’s allergies for when they go outside for fresh air?
We want kids to play outside! If your child struggles with seasonal allergies, it’s important to treat before play. For fast and effective control of intermittent allergy symptoms, I recommend long-acting, non-drowsy antihistamines like Children’s Allegra. When used as directed, these medications are safe and can last through an entire day of play. It’s important to remember that allergy control continues after the day of play is over. On the days of high pollen count, consider keeping shoes outside the house, changing your child’s clothes after spending time outside, washing her hair and face every night, and keeping the window closed on windy days. These healthy habits will keep the pollen from getting inside your home.
Healthy Tips for Kids
Especially in these strange times, it’s important to remember the power of family. Take time to connect with one another, as well as allow every family member to have some space for themselves. Take time to teach the life-skills of breathwork and mindfulness to help with stress reduction. Exercise daily as a family. Try to keep the daily schedule flexible within the firm anchors of a routine wake time, dedicated tech-free meal times, and routine bedtime. Choose playing a game over fighting over math problems. Do something kind for a neighbor. Practice gratitude. And, of course, wash those hands diligently.
Dr. Natasha Burgert – Children’s Allegra
Dr. Natasha Burgert is a board-certified pediatrician, nationally recognized child health expert, writer, and mom of two. Her ability to blend parenting experience with evidence-based child health information has also made her a sought-after speaker, spokesperson, and influencer.
After completing pediatric training at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, she now calls the Kansas City area home. She provides full-time patient care at Pediatric Associates in Overland Park, KS while serving on the Board of Directors of the growing practice.
Born out of her desire to encourage confident parenting between the routine well child visits, she created KCKidsDoc.com and became a leader in the fusion of social media and medicine. This passion for pediatric innovation and her uniquely effective practice style has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning, and ABC News.
In addition to her clinical work, she serves as a National Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a regular contributor to NBC Learn, US News and World Report, and her local NPR affiliate.
She is online on as @kckidsdoc on Instagram and Facebook and @DoctorNatasha on Twitter.