Via The Ottawa Citizen, a report by Helen Branswell of The Canadian Press: Kids can get sick in doctors' waiting rooms. Excerpt:
They are called "well child visits" - the checkups and appointments for vaccinations that are scheduled at regular intervals throughout the first years of a young life.
But a new study suggests there's a risk healthy children or their parents will go home brewing a cold or the flu, having picked up a bug while sharing a doctor's waiting room with others who are there because they are sick.
The study suggests the risk for individuals is small. But it estimates there are nearly 800,000 medical visits each year in the United States as a result of so-called influenza-like infections picked up in a waiting room by a child or parent there for a well-child checkup.
"The physical proximity of these two different forms of care can expose healthy people - or unhealthy people - to contagious illnesses, especially upper respiratory infections," says Dr. Philip Polgreen, a physician and a professor of computational biology at the University of Iowa. Polgreen is the senior author of the study, which is published in the March issue of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, released Thursday.
"Individually it's a small risk. But if you think about how many (of these occur) across the country, it really adds up."
Polgreen and his co-authors examined data from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's medical expenditure panel survey, looking for cases where children or members of their family visited a doctor for an influenza-like illness within two weeks of having a wellchild visit.
They then used mathematical modelling to assess the risk and come up with the overall figure. As well, they looked at whether influenza-like illness return visits spiked during flu season. And they did see increased doctor visits for influenza-like illnesses in the period immediately after well-child visits, especially during cold and flu season.