Mobile pediatric unit helps DeKalb County Schools curb flu virus

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Eight-year-old Sadarius Dunlap had a doctor's appointment Wednesday, but didn't have to miss hours of classroom instruction at Snapfinger Elementary School to be there. That's because the doctor's staff from Kids Doc on Wheels showed up in a specially equipped RV to meet him and other students on campus.

The staff conducts routine wellness exams and screens for illnesses like the flu. Dr. Lynette Wilson Phillips said the partnership with DeKalb County Schools and local YMCAs makes it easier for educators and parents to keep the potentially deadly flu virus in check.

"We're actually able to identify children who come in with flu symptoms. We're also doing preventive and comprehensive care with asthmatics and other chronic conditions that require follow-up. This way we can come to the kids without the parents having to bring them to us," Dr. Wilson Phillips told FOX 5's Portia Bruner.

Parents must register their children through before the mobile unit arrives at school. A certified pediatric nurse practitioner and a medical assistant are on board, along with the staffer who manages the RV and the students' appointments.

"In just the last couple of weeks, we've have 10 to 15 kids test positive for the flu. One boy had such severe symptoms, we had to send him home immediately with the medicine he needed to recover. Fortunately, we can test right here in the unit and give the flu vaccine.

Kids Docs on Wheels makes routine visits at Snapfinger, Fairington, Flat Shoals, and Panola Way Elementary. The staff also visits several YMCA pre-school facilities in metro Atlanta. Dr. Wilson Phillips said she's working with DeKalb County Schools to expand the program in the school district. The goal, she said, is to keep students and their school environment as healthy as possible.

"We don't want children to miss a day of learning because of an illness, especially one that can be prevented. This flu season is hitting us with a bang and we all have to do our part," the DeKalb County pediatrician said.

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