Author: Phillips Pediatrics

A Q&A with our pediatrician, Dr. Catherine Phillips

Get to know pediatrician, Dr. Catherine Philips by reading this Q&A. Dr. Phillips is a board-certified pediatrician dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to children throughout Oxford, MS.

Learn More About Dr. Phillips

Where did you grow up?

The MS delta. Sometimes I thought our town was too small, but looking back I have wonderful childhood memories of family, cotton trailers, and dirt roads. There’s a way of life there that I can’t completely explain—one that revolves around harvest and hunting season, one that is richer than the land itself, and one that I am lucky to have experienced.  The values I received from my small community in Sharkey County are innumerable and will last a lifetime.

Through college and medical training, I experienced some other great places, all filled with unique culture and tradition.  My husband and I moved back to Mississippi in 2013 to be closer to family. As Ole Miss alumnae, we felt that Oxford was the quintessential town to start a family and build our careers. We are blessed to be raising our children in yet another wonderful community.

What is a D.O.?

I dreamed of being a pediatrician when I was little. I absolutely loved babies; I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children; and I wanted to do it through medicine. A college advisor recommended I look at Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences, which happened to be my hometown doctor’s alma mater. The school was a perfect fit for me.

The foundation of osteopathic medicine is that people are more than just the sum of their body parts. Osteopathic physicians are known to take a hands on approach to diagnosis, a holistic approach to care, and a systems-based approach to treatment. There are 5 aspects of personal health: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. Osteopathic medicine focuses on the well-being of the entire person. This holistic approach to care has been a guiding principal for me as a D.O.

Tell us about residency.

I completed my pediatric internship and residency at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. One of my greatest achievements in residency was receiving the resident teacher of the year award. Residency is a hard three years, but it’s there that you bring the formidable bank of knowledge you learn in medical school to bear at the bedside of some of the sickest children in the country. It’s there that you learn just what a privilege it is to care for someone else’s child. And it’s there that you learn children are not merely young adults; they are unique and require a different approach to care. I’m honored to have the education and experience required to care for your babies from infancy to adolescence.

How do you view motherhood?

By now, you should know that I absolutely love children. I cannot tell you how many babies have stolen my heart—baby dolls, baby cousins, neighborhood kids, nursery babies, and of course, my own. Just as I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician one day, I always wanted to be a mother.

Motherhood is completely different than what I thought it would be. Somehow, moms make it look so easy. I had no idea how demanding, how challenging, and how fearful raising children would be. But, with all the challenges, motherhood is the most significant and gratifying role of my life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love my children, and I am honored to care for yours.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

Losing my dad. His physical health declined rapidly during my residency. He was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, developed an oxygen requirement, entered a clinical trial, and eventually was placed on a transplant list. Just 3 months after Patrick was born, my father underwent lung transplant at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans. It was one of the hardest weeks of my life. He developed acute reperfusion injury, and I thought we were going to lose him. By the grace of God and modern medicine, Dad’s medical team supported him through, and we were blessed with three more years with him. He passed away four days after Christmas in 2018. I always questioned why life could take loved ones away during the holidays. The truth for me is that it is never easy to say goodbye. I miss Dad on ordinary days just as much as on holidays. But, I am thankful for that last Christmas with him, for the life he gave to me, my mom, my siblings, and his seven grandchildren, and for the legacy he left behind. My Daddy was a devout Christian, a compassionate father, the life of the party, and a successful business owner. He will always be a guiding light and role model in my life.

Tell us about yourself?

I am happily married to my husband Brian. We are blessed with two precious kids. Patrick is a proud Bramlett Charger and Margaret is a spunky three-year old. I enjoy home decorating, exercising, and dining out with friends.  I am a member of St. John’s Catholic Church and like to stay active in the LOU community. I have served on numerous philanthropic boards, but right now most of my spare time is spent at home with my kids.

I opened Phillips Pediatrics in 2020 with a vision to practice the most comprehensive, high quality pediatric medicine to children in Oxford and surrounding areas in a fun, innovative practice where access to your pediatrician is easy and everything revolves around your child’s individual needs, adding a little something extra in everything we do, connecting with each other and with our community.  I am excited for our practice to grow with my family and with yours.

New Urgent Care Walk-In Hours

In order to continue to provide optimal care for our patients, we have updated our regular Daily Walk-In hours and added new Urgent Care Hours! Urgent Care Walk-Ins will be available on Mondays with D. Brooke Underwood, C-PNP. Our new Walk-In hours are listed below. If you would like to schedule an appointment at our office in Oxford, MS, call us at (662) 371-1543 today!

Walk-In Hours


 

Daily Walk-in Hours:

8:00AM – 10:00AM and 2:00PM – 4:00PM

Walk-In Urgent Care:

Mondays, 8:00AM – 5:30PM

child playing doctor

Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The US has two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines with good safety and efficacy profiles recommended for Emergency Use Authorization in response to the pandemic. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved in persons aged ≥ 16 years and Moderna’s mRNA vaccine is approved in persons aged ≥18 years. We feel that the COVID 19 vaccine is the best hope for ending the pandemic. Until more of the population can receive the vaccine, we must continue to social distance. We are all in this together, and together, we can make a difference. Thankfully, our office is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

How does the COVID vaccine work and is it safe?

Currently, Pfizer and Moderna have brought mRNA COVID vaccines to market. While it seems like an overnight sensation, mRNA technology has been researched for 25 years. SARS vaccine research has been in place since 2003, which helped in the timely development of the COVID-19 vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

Live attenuated viral vaccines, such as measles vaccine, induce an immune response that is similar to natural infection. mRNA vaccines, on the other hand, simply give the body instructions to produce one very specific part of a virus – in this case the so-called spike protein – to then induce an immune response.  Because mRNA is broken down very quickly in the human body, to do its work it needs to be able to get into our cells, it is wrapped in a lipid nanoparticle. Once it gets into the cells to deliver the instructions, the mRNA breaks down very quickly. It does not get into the nucleus of the cell, it does not get into our genes, and it cannot change our genetic make-up.

When you get an intramuscular injection of mRNA, the muscle tissue at the site of the injection and the corresponding lymph nodes (if given in the arm, the lymph nodes in your armpit), the spleen and to some extent the liver make the COVID virus spike protein. The majority of the spike protein is produced in the first 2-3 days after injection. After a few days routine mechanisms in our cells shut down the mRNA and thus the spike protein production stops. mRNA only survives for a short time. Our immune system then makes antibodies against the COVID virus spike proteins. Since only the spike proteins are produced, the vaccine cannot cause disease.

When the vaccinated person then encounters the real, live COVID virus, our immune system recognizes the spike protein on the actual virus and mobilizes the antibodies, which were produced when you received the vaccine.  Those antibodies are ready to help you fight the infection.

COVID Vaccine in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to be vaccinated. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talking with a healthcare provider may might help you make an informed decision. While breastfeeding is an important consideration, it is rarely a safety concern with vaccines.

No data are available yet on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on breastfed infants or on milk production/excretion. mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding infants. People who are breastfeeding and are part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated.

To make sure that more information is gathered regarding the safety of these vaccines when administered during pregnancy, pregnant people are encouraged to enroll in v-safe, CDC’s new smartphone-based tool being used to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If pregnant people report health events through v-safe after vaccination, someone from CDC may call to check on them and get more information. Additionally, pregnant people enrolled in v-safe will be contacted by CDC and asked to participate in a pregnancy registry that will monitor them through pregnancy and the first 3 months of infancy.

Can children get the vaccine?

The vaccine is only approved for adolescent patients 16 years and older. There are clinical trials for children, and it is predicted that children will be approved for vaccination later this year.

Where can I get my COVID vaccine?

You can visit the Mississippi State Department of Health website for vaccine sites and other information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions

During this pandemic, Dr. Phillips agrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) that it is very important for children to continue to receive medical care and stay up to date on vaccinations. We continue to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of your child and family, including separating sick and well spaces in the clinic, performing covid screenings at separate times from well visits, Telehealth appointments, curbside check-in and visits, and enhanced cleaning procedures in the office.

What is COVID-19

COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new strain of Coronavirus, which is a family of common viruses that tend to cause cold symptoms in people. This one is unique in that it is more contagious and causes more severe illness, including more deaths, than the typical Coronavirus. Luckily, children generally have milder symptoms than adults. It spreads from person-to-person from respiratory droplets that are produced wh en an infected person coughs or sneezes.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Thankfully, children tend to have mild illnesses from COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include sinus congestion, sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and/or loss of taste or smell. Some patients have no symptoms at all. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19, but anyone can develop mild to severe symptoms.

How is COVID-19 treated?

Most pediatric patients with COVID-19 recover by resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and using fever/pain-reducing medications. There are no antibiotics that will treat COVID-19 due to it being a viral illness. In some cases, patients will require hospitalization and more advanced treatment.

How do we prevent the spread of COVID-19?

You can protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking these precautions:

  • Stay home when possible
  • Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart from others when possible.
  • Wear a mask when you are outside of your home and cannot maintain social distancing from others. We require that all visitors and patients over the age of 2 wear a mask when inside our office.
  • Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer) or use hand sanitizer (without Methanol) when hand washing isn’t possible.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces.
  • Clean and disinfect “High-Touch” surfaces often.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals.
  • Make sure to get your daily dose of Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D, and sunshine during this Pandemic.
  • After exposure to COVID-19, you must quarantine based on guidelines per the CDC and MSDH. You are legally required by the state of Mississippi to practice current quarantine guidelines regardless of what your job, school, or outside entity says.

Who needs to quarantine?

It is recommended that anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 quarantines for 14-days after the last date of exposure.

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.

What Counts as Close Contact?

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes.
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them).
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils.
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

What are the options to reduce quarantine?

Asymptomatic contacts may reduce quarantine while continuing to monitor symptoms for the full 14 days after exposure.

  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 if testing is available and you received a negative PCR test on day 5, 6, or 7.  We offer curbside PCR testing at our clinic through LabCorp. There is typically a 48 hour turn-around time but this is not guaranteed by LabCorp when testing volumes are high.

What Do I Need to Know About COVID-19 Testing?

Types of COVID-19 Testing

We encourage our patients to contact our office to determine which, if any, COVID-19 test is the right plan of care. There are several different types of tests being marketed for COVID-19 testing. We currently have all three types of tests available. We offer curbside rapid and send-off covid testing daily.

Viral Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests

  • The primary method for acute COVID-19 diagnostic testing is through SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. This test is designed to detect the viral DNA that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens such as nasal or oral swabs. NAATs are more accurate but require specialized lab equipment and sometimes take longer to process.
  • We offer curbside PCR testing through LabCorp. Turnaround time is typically 48 hours but can vary pending volume in the laboratory.

Viral Antigen Tests

  • Antigen tests detect viral proteins and may not be as sensitive as NAATs, particularly if the antigen test is used on someone without COVID-19 symptoms.
  • We offer two different antigen tests, and try to use the most accurate test available based on your symptoms. Turn-around time is 15 minutes.

Antibody Testing

  • You may have also heard about antibody testing to determine if you previously had COVID-19. This type of testing detects two different antibodies (IgM/IgG) to the coronavirus. The concern about this test is that there may be crossover with other coronavirus strains that could result in a false positive, there can be a negative test in the first 1-3 weeks of symptoms, resulting in a false sense of security which may result in spreading the virus to others, and even if an antibody is detected (a positive result) the results do not have clear implications in terms of contagiousness or risk of spreading illness.
  • We perform antibody testing between day 21 and day 90 of concerning symptoms or direct contact to COVID. This is a blood test sent to LabCorp and is typically reported within 3-7 days.

We encourage our patients to contact our office to determine which, if any, COVID-19 test is the right plan of care. Testing has received Emergency Use Authorization from the US FDA during the pandemic if shown at least a 70% sensitivity. This is important to know because all of these tests have limitations and you must follow all guidelines and recommendations we give you if tested.

My child has been exposed to someone with a confirmed COVID infection. Should we be tested?

Phillips Pediatrics recommends you contact our office to determine the next best step for medical treatment.  Be sure to mention all exposure and symptoms when speaking to a member of our team. We will help you determine when your child needs to be seen, which, if any, COVID-19 test is the right plan of care, when the best time to test would be, and when your child can return to school or daycare. We offer curbside rapid and send-off covid testing daily.

How long after exposure should someone wait for testing?

The incubation period (time until symptoms develop) is about 2 to 14 days, with an average of about 5 days. This means that getting tested before symptoms start, especially in the first few days after exposure, may not be helpful. We cannot be certain that a person with a negative test was not infected, and you must follow quarantine guidelines, regardless of test results. We recommend testing in the first few days of symptom onset. For asymptomatic contacts, we recommend testing between day 5 to 7 with a confirmatory PCR if rapid testing is negative. We recommend testing at our clinic when possible so we can make sure you receive the right test.

What should you expect if your child was tested at our office for COVID-19?

If you were tested today at Phillips Pediatrics, a member of our staff will call you to discuss results of your test whether they are positive or negative. You should remain quarantined until a member of our staff gives you further instructions (do not head to Wal Mart while awaiting test results). For rapid 15 minute tests, a member of our staff calls at lunch and after clinic to report the results of your test. If you do not receive a call, please contact our office. Send-out tests result in 2 to 3 days at which time you will receive a call from someone from our office. If you do not receive a call after 3 days, please call us at 662-371-1543. We send school and work notes via fax when needed.

Should you travel during the pandemic?

As the cases of COVID-19 grow around the country, we want to help you in making the most informed decision prior to loading up the car or booking your next trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created guidance for considerations for travel. Before you go, a few considerations are:

  • Are you heading to a “hot spot?” Traveling to areas with increased COVID-19 can increase your risk of infection. There also may be increased travel restrictions due to the viral spread. It is encouraged that you check state or local health departments for more information before you travel.
  • Will you be able to socially distance while traveling? Being less than 6 feet from others can increase your chance of infecting others or becoming infected.
  • Are you at an increased risk of infection? If you or those you or those you are planning to travel with are at an increased risk of illness, it is recommended that travel be limited.
  • Will you need to quarantine after traveling? Some states, work-sites, and schools may require or recommend a 14-day quarantine after traveling.
  • Are you sick or have you been in contact with someone that has COVID-19? Travel is not recommended for anyone that is sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • How will you travel? Traveling by airplane, bus, train or even stopping at rest stops can lead to virus exposure. Choosing a way to travel that allows you to avoid close contact with others is the most ideal.

Should you choose to travel during this time, we recommend that you continue to follow the CDC recommendations for COVID-19:

  • Wear your mask or face covering.
  • Clean your hands often and when soiled by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with others by staying 6 feet apart as much as possible.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Limit your exposure to others as often as possible.

Should I send my child to school this year?

This is definitely not a one size fits all situation. The AAP, the CDC, and the MSDH, have all offered their recommendations/opinions. They are addressing what is best for the majority of children. We agree with the AAP that “schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being and provide our children and adolescents with academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/speech and mental health therapy, and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits.”

However, you the parents are not making decisions for the average child, you are making decisions for your child. Most children are safe in school. But, for children with medical conditions such as Diabetes or Down syndrome or for children being taken care of by elderly family members or caregivers with high risk medical conditions, virtual school may be a safer alternative. When choosing alternate education routes, you have to make sure your home has access to virtual classes and schedules that allow proper education times. Here’s a great article on back to school from Dr. Phillips published by the Oxford Eagle.

Is there an association between multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and COVID-19?

MIS-C is a rare inflammatory condition in children following infection with SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms include:

  • A persistent fever (100.4 F or above)
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Rash or changes in skin color
  • Trouble breathing
  • Listlessness/lethargy or confusion

MIS-C is similar to symptoms of Kawasaki’s Disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome. While it sounds frightening, MIS-C is very rare. Still, our providers are aware of the symptoms and take great precaution in children presenting with acute coronavirus and post-viral illnesses.