OCP updates

Great news! Opal Court Pediatrics will now be offering a daily walk in clinic for acutely ill patients starting this Monday, March 4th 2024! Walk in’s are accepted Monday-Friday from the hours of 8:00 am-10:00 am. This clinic is for patients whose symptoms have developed within the past 7 days including:

  • cold symptoms
  • sore throat
  • ear pain
  • fever
  • minor injuries 
  • acute skin rashes
  • urinary symptoms

Please be aware that walk in appointments are seen on a first come, first serve basis, so there could be a wait time before you are seen by a healthcare provider. Also, be sure to bring your insurance card for the front desk to assist in the ease of this process.

If your symptoms have persisted for more than 7 days or are chronic, we ask you to schedule an appointment to allow for ample time to discuss concerns thoroughly. You are also able to still schedule same day sick appointments throughout the day if you prefer to have a specific time or provider.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a viral illness that affects the respiratory passages – the nose and lungs. It is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezing.

Common symptoms of RSV include:

  • Mild to Moderate Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Fever (100.4 F or higher)
  • Diarrhea

What Makes RSV Different From Other Viral Illnesses?
In adults and children over 5-years-old, RSV can appear as the common cold; however, for children under 5, RSV can cause serious illness. RSV causes the creation of excess mucus, which can quickly make breathing difficult for a young child by overloading their lungs and nose. According to the CDC, up to 80,000 children are hospitalized in the United States with RSV each year.

Complications of RSV:

  • Croup – coughing that sounds like a seal or dog “bark”
  • Wheezing – may be a “whistling” sound when your child breathes
  • Stridor – a “whoop” when a child breathes
  • Dehydration – children may refuse to drink due to frequent coughing
  • Trouble Breathing – a child may gasp for air

Is There an RSV Vaccine?
A new vaccine for RSV called Beyfortus was released earlier this year. It is recommended for all children under the age of 8 months. Unfortunately, due to limited availability, the RSV vaccine is not available at Opal Court Pediatrics or at local pharmacies. We hope to have this vaccine available next year once it is available.

How Do I Know If My Child Has RSV?
It can be challenging to determine if your child has RSV at home. During RSV season, between November and April, we recommend all children under one-year-old with cold-like symptoms be tested. In addition, children with underlying conditions, such as asthma, are at risk for severe symptoms with RSV and should also be tested. Children 6 months and younger are at an increased risk of complications due to smaller airways and lack of immunity.
At Opal Court Pediatrics we offer rapid testing for RSV*. We simply swab your child’s nostril and receive test results back in 15 minutes! If we know your child has RSV, we can better anticipate their needs.

What Can I Do If I Think My Child Has RSV?
If your child has cold-like symptoms they may have RSV. Opal Court makes it easy for you to determine the best medical course of action to take.

  1. Call and schedule an appointment with any of our 6 amazing pediatric providers. We take same-day sick appointments starting at 8am. Our number is (301) 791-6666.
  2. Call and speak to one of our pediatric nurses who can give advice on managing your child’s illness at home and, if needed, determine if your child needs to be seen at our office.
  3. Calling after hours? For established patients, we have a provider on-call for after the office closes. After 10 pm, a provider is available to answer your questions regarding urgent medical issues. They can help determine if your child needs to seek medical care at a local Emergency Room (ER), an urgent care facility or with Opal Court Pediatrics the next day.

How Can I Manage My Child At Home?
For older children and adolescents, RSV will likely resemble a cold or viral illness. RSV starts as a mild cold, but then symptoms often worsen on day 4. Supportive care is often helpful to alleviate symptoms, including fever, congestion, aches and mild discomfort. We recommend the

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen, for 6 months or older) – Use to reduce fever and mild discomfort. Dosage is based on the child’s weight or age. See recommended dosage on product labeling or packaging.
  • Nasal Suctioning – Use to clear mucus from the nose. The device can be manual or electric. Frida is a popular brand that many parents use.
  • Nasal Saline – Excess mucus may make it challenging for your child to breathe. Saline can help thin mucus in the nose. This may make suctioning easier. May use up to 3 times a day.
  • Electrolyte Drinks (Pedialyte) – Provides nutrients such as sugar and essential electrolytes that can help keep your child hydrated. Always ask your provider about hydration for children under the age of 6 months.
  • Honey– For children over the age of 1 year, honey can help soothe sore throats and coughs. May be added to warm liquids such as tea for added soothing effects. Honey is found in popular brands like Zarbees Cough Syrup.

We do not recommend the routine use of over-the-counter (OTC) antitussive medications for children.

If your child’s symptoms worsen or fail to improve we recommend that you call our office for an appointment. Worrisome signs include:

  • Less than 3 wet diapers in 24 hours or 2 voids for an older child in 24 hours
  • Fever (101 F or higher) unresponsive to fever reducers
  • Rapid breathing, nasal flaring, gasping for air
  • Wheezing
  • Excessive coughing leading to vomiting or refusal to drink fluids

Written By: Kira Hartman, CRPNP-PC
Kira Hartman is a Certified Registered Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, specializing in Primary Care (CRPNP-PC) at Opal Court Pediatrics. She graduated from Kent State University with a Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in primary care for children 0-21 years old. Her other degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Xavier University, and a Bachelor in Science in Biology from Denison University. Her special area of interest includes the treatment of allergies and asthma.

Disclaimer: The advice in this blog is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional medical advice, if your child is experiencing health issues. Always consult with your medical provider regarding any health issues your child may be experiencing. In the event of a medical emergency call 9-1-1 or proceed to the nearest Emergency Room (ER).

* Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to provide in-office RSV testing for patients with United Healthcare insurance. We are able to provide testing at a nearby lab if needed. We hope to resolve this issue in the future.

Coronavirus and Children

Are children more susceptible to the virus that causes COVID-19 compared with the general population and how can infection be prevented?

A: No, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. Infections in children have been reported, including in very young children. From limited information published from past Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks, infection among children was relatively uncommon.

Children should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection, including cleaning hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding people who are sick, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza vaccine. 

Are children at increased risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality from COVID-19 infection compared with adults?

A: There have been very few reports of the clinical outcomes for children with COVID-19 to date. Limited reports from China suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 may present with mild symptoms and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. However, as with other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such as children with underlying health conditions.

COVID Vaccine Clinic at Opal Court Pediatrics.

To the patients and families of Opal Court Pediatrics,

We at Opal Court Pediatrics hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. We wanted to reach out to make sure you are doing everything you can to stay safe from COVID-19. With this in mind, the doctors, nurses, and staff at Opal Court Pediatrics encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.

The Washington County Health Department is holding a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the parking lot of Opal Court Pediatrics on Thursday, July 29th. This event is open to the public for ages 12 and older. They will be offering the Pfizer vaccine with second doses being given Thursday, August 19th. Walk-ins welcome but we encourage you to save time by registering with the links listed below.

We’re encouraging all of our patients to get the vaccine because we’ve reviewed the evidence that shows they are safe and effective. We also believe that it is one of the best ways that our patients can protect themselves and their family from getting sick with COVID. We are all so thankful that we have the opportunity to get the vaccine because we can now look forward to the future with the hope that we can safely return to the things we love to do with our loved ones.

If you’ve already been vaccinated, we celebrate with you! We may not have your COVID-19 vaccine in our records so please bring your immunization card to your next appointment.

Please reach out to our office if you have any questions and stay safe!

Take care,

Opal Court Pediatrics

Social Distancing

It is very crucial to stop the spread of coronavirus and to flatten the curve.

Group gathering.
Sleep overs & Play dates
Concerts and Theater entertainment
Athletic events and workouts in Gym
Crowded retail stores and Malls
Visitors in your house
Non essential workers in House
Mass transit by bus, train or airplane.

Visiting Local restaurants
Visiting Grocery stores
Getting take out or drive thru fast foods
Picking Up medications
Playing Tennis in the Park
Visiting Public Library
Attending Church Services

Take a walk
Go for a Hike or Bike ride
Yard work
Playing in the Yard
Clean your closet and Kitchen
Read a Book
Listen to Music or stream your favorite show
Cook a Meal
Family Game or Movie night]
Go for a drive
Group video chat
Check on a friend by phone
Check on an elderly neighbor