Have a question you forgot to discuss at the doctor’s office or are too embarrassed to ask? The experts at Samaritan Health Services are here to help.
Q: As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, it is hard to tell what is normal “teen angst,” and what might be serious. How do I know whether my teenager needs help?
A: The pandemic brought ongoing stress and uncertainty, which can be especially overwhelming for children and teens. Since so many of us are staying home a lot more, hopefully you are able to check in with your teen often and watch for any signs they are struggling.
The American Academy of Pediatrics cites these common signs of stress and mental health challenges:
Unusual changes in mood, ongoing irritability, feelings of hopelessness or rage and frequent conflicts with others.
Changes in behavior, such as stepping back from personal relationships.
Loss of interest in activities.
Difficulty sleeping or sleeping a lot more than usual.
Changes in weight or eating patterns.
Problems with memory, thinking or concentration.
Less interest in schoolwork.
Lack of basic personal hygiene.
Increase in risky or reckless behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol.
Thoughts or talking about death or suicide.
It can be hard sometimes to determine what is normal developmental behavior and what is serious. If you have concerns, reach out to your teen’s primary care provider, who can screen for depression and ask about concerns like anxiety or stress. Make sure your teen has privacy during their appointment, so they may speak as openly as possible. Rest assured that clinics are taking extra precautions to make in-person visits safe during the pandemic, and many are also providing telehealth visits. Meanwhile, try to set an example by staying positive and hopeful for a bright future.
— Rosemary Schairer, FNP, Samaritan Pediatrics
Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?
A: Data is limited on the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women; however, we do know how similar vaccines work in pregnancy. We do not see a negative to getting the vaccine, and you can get it at any time in your pregnancy.
I do suggest that you review your risk for getting the virus and weigh it against the potential for having a serious case, if you do get it. In a study of 23,434 pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19, compared to women not pregnant, pregnant women had an increased incidence of more severe outcomes such as hospital admissions, needing ventilation and having premature births.
It’s best to avoid getting COVID-19, but vaccination is an individual choice. While I do not hesitate to recommend the vaccine to my patients, you should discuss concerns with your obstetrician to help you decide.
— Andrea McCann, MD, Samaritan Obstetrics and Gynecology — Corvallis
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Call Samaritan Health Services Find a Doctor line at 800-863-5241 to find a provider who is right for you.