The Wellness Roundup With Dr. Jill

HKP Summer Safety Tips

Dr. Jill, Dr. Namm, and Dr. Torres share tips on how to stay safe, happy, and healthy this summer!

They discuss sunscreen, mosquito repellent, hydration, pool safety, the importance of wearing helmets, and making sure the kids get outside! 😎👍


FAQs about the Covid 19 Vaccine

Many parents have questions about COVID‐19 vaccines which are now available to anyone age 12 and up. Here are some helpful answers to some of the most common questions provided by The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). -HKP 💛

How does the COVID‐19 vaccine work? The COVID‐19 vaccine works similarly to other vaccines your child has had. Germs such as SARS‐CoV‐2, the virus that causes COVID‐19, invade and multiply inside the body. The vaccine stops this by teaching the immune system to recognize and make antibodies to fight the virus. After vaccination, your child has less of a chance of getting COVID‐19. And if they do get infected with the virus, they may not be as sick as they would without the vaccine.

What are the types of vaccines? Three different vaccines were given emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so far. Two require two doses (Pfizer and Moderna), and one involves a single shot (Johnson & Johnson). Distribution of the one‐shot vaccine was temporarily paused to look for possible ties to rare but serious blood clots reported during the vaccine’s safety monitoring process. The FDA lifted the pause when data confirmed the chance of developing the clots with the vaccine is extremely low, but continues to monitor the risk. The COVID‐19 vaccines that require two doses are both messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines. The other was developed as a “viral vector” vaccine. They all have the same result – protecting people from COVID‐19 – but their delivery systems are a bit different. The vaccine currently available to children and teens over age 12 does not contain any live or dead parts of the virus. Instead, it is made up of nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of all of our cells. Once they’ve done their job, they fall apart and exit the body.

How are RNA and viral vector vaccines different? COVID‐19 mRNA vaccines carry instructions to our cells to produce harmless pieces of “spike” protein found on SARS‐CoV‐2. This triggers an immune system response that the body remembers if the virus ever invades. Although this technology has been studied for decades, widespread use of mRNA vaccines is new. They don’t use the live coronavirus that causes COVID‐19. The mRNA in the vaccine gets into the cells where the shot is given. Then it gives the cells instructions on how to create a piece of protein that is found on the virus that causes COVID‐19. Once the protein is created, your immune system identifies it as a foreign molecule body. The immune process starts, making antibodies that attach to the protein. These antibodies then protect you from getting COVID‐19. Viral vector vaccines, like the mRNA vaccines, also give instructions to your immune cells. Instead of carrying the instructions to your cells on a fat bubble, as with the mRNA vaccine, they are carried in a harmless virus (not the coronavirus that causes COVID‐19). The same process happens as with the mRNA vaccine – the cells create the protein that’s found on the virus that causes COVID‐19, the immune system makes antibodies to fight it, and you’re protected from getting COVID‐19.

How do we know COVID‐19 vaccines are safe for kids? Before getting FDA emergency use authorization, clinical trials showed COVID‐19 vaccines to be remarkably safe and effective for adults and teens age 16 and up. Trials involved tens of thousands of volunteers. After getting additional safety data for younger teens, the FDA extended authorization to adolescents age 12 and older. Clinical trials are underway for children as young as six months old. The vaccines continue to be monitored very closely. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that COVID‐19 vaccines will have “the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history”. How effective are the vaccines? Research shows that all of the COVID‐19 vaccines are highly effective at stopping people from getting COVID‐19. The vaccines also help prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death in those who get COVID‐19. Scientists don’t know how long immunity from the vaccine will protect people. This will become clearer in the future.

How long does it take for the vaccines to create immunity? It takes around 2 weeks after getting the second dose of the mRNA vaccines for your body to build up an immunity to the virus that causes COVID‐19. For the one‐dose vaccine, building up immunity takes 2 to 4 weeks.

Do mRNA vaccines change your DNA? No, the mRNA actually doesn’t interact with your DNA at all. DNA is your genetic material and it’s stored in the nucleus of a cell. The mRNA in the vaccines never gets into the nucleus. And once your immune cells have used the instructions, they break down the mRNA and get rid of it.

Which vaccine should my child get? Currently, one of the two‐dose vaccines (Pfizer) is approved for teens who are 12 to 17 years old. Anyone who is 18 or older should get whichever vaccine is available to them first. This is especially important now with the rise in cases caused by the variant strains of the virus, which seem to be more contagious and continue to spread at alarming rates here in the US and globally. COVID‐19 vaccines are free.

What about the side effects of the vaccine? COVID‐19 vaccines are safe, but there are some short‐term side effects your child may experience. In clinical trials, some adolescents had no side effects, and some had side effects similar to those reported by adults: (Pain, redness, and swelling where the injection was given, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, nausea, and pain in the muscles) Call your pediatrician and ask about medicines that can reduce these symptoms, which usually go away in a day or so. While also rare, some people have had serious allergic reactions to the COVID‐19 vaccine. This is why your child will need to wait for 15 to 30 minutes after they have a vaccination. If your child has a reaction, there are medications to quickly treat it. As for long‐term side‐effects, the CDC says this is unlikely. We have years of research and monitoring on other vaccinations that show side effects almost always happen within six weeks of getting a vaccine.

Is it safe to get a vaccine if I’m breastfeeding? Right now, there’s no evidence that getting a COVID‐19 vaccine causes any breastfeeding safety concerns. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women should be offered the vaccine when they’re eligible.

Can COVID‐19 vaccines affect fertility? There’s no evidence that any vaccine, including those for COVID‐19, causes fertility side effects. The vaccines don’t affect puberty or a child’s reproductive development in any way.
It is safe for pregnant and anyone who wants to become pregnant in the future. In fact, among the millions of people now immunized, there are women who got the COVID‐19 vaccine while pregnant and women who became pregnant after getting it? Doctors have watched these cases closely, and have reported no safety problems.

Were fetal cells used in the COVID‐19 vaccine’s development? None of the vaccines contain fetal cells. All of the vaccines have used fetal cell lines at some point, but there is a difference between fetal cells and fetal cell lines. Fetal cell lines have been grown in labs since the 1960s. These cells have multiplied, creating generations of fetal cell lines. This means that the cells we have today no longer contain fetal tissue. Several religious groups and bioethics institutes have issued statements and guidance about the COVID‐19 vaccines. For instance, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops states that getting vaccinated is morally justifiable given the circumstances.

For more information, visit and/or 👍

From Rugger to Doctor to Writer: Bucknell Magazine Features Dr. Jill Garripoli Pedalino

Check out this fun Pop Quiz and cool article on Dr. Jill in this month’s edition of Bucknell University Magazine!

Not only is she an awesome pediatrician and the leader of Healthy Kids Pediatrics, Dr. Jill is a former ‘Rookie of the Year’ and Captain of Bucknell’s Women’s Rugby Team!

Cheers to all the strong and scrappy girls out there who are willing to put in the hustle and follow their dreams.

Anything is possible!

-HKP 👍💪

Two More 5 Star Reviews for Dr. Torres and The Healthy Kids Pediatrics Team!

Kudos to Dr. Torres and the HKP Team for earning two more 5 Star Reviews on Google! 🎉

We are so happy that our families love Dr. Torres as much as we do!

“Dr. Torres is kind, compassionate, thorough, understanding, and has the patience of a saint.”

🥰“Dr. Torres was so gentle and sweet with my son during his exam. We both left the office absolutely loving her.”🥰

“Thank you so much Dr. Jill, for onboarding another fantastic doctor to make us, as parents, feel comfortable bringing our children to HKP.

Thank you Kathy and Megan for taking the time to share your positive feedback.

We appreciate it! 🙏


“Should we vaccinate our 12-15 year old?”

“Should we vaccinate our 12-15 year old?”

As you can imagine, our doctors have been getting this question a lot!

We wish we could give everyone definitive guidance, but due to the newness of this vaccine that’s not the case. We have seen nothing with regard to contraindications to receiving the vaccine, but due to it being so new without long term data it is difficult to do a blanket recommendation for all.

Even though our practice believes in the safety and efficacy of vaccines, when it comes to specifically vaccinating 12-15 year old children with the covid vaccine, we are handling our recommendations like the flu shot; we are recommending it, but leaving it up to the parents to ultimately decide unless it is mandatory (as is the case with the flu vaccine and pre-school attendance).

We do believe, however, that our patients whose medical conditions put them at increased risk of severe illness if they contracted covid and those who live with high risk family members get the vaccine. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the CDC have all issued statements recommending it and the data continue to show this vaccine is safe and effective.

We have all felt the effects of the impact of the pandemic on our children’s mental and emotional health as they have missed out on so many experiences these past 14 months. Getting them back to all their normal activities is our top priority so we will continue to stay updated on the latest information regarding the vaccine.

Things are moving very fast so Dr. Namm, Dr. Jill, Dr. Torres, and the Heathy Kids Team are doing our best to keep up!

Have a great weekend!


Meet Dr. Jill, Dr. Namm, and Dr. Torres: The Healthy Kids Pediatrics Provider Team

Hi everyone, it was a crazy year but we made it!

Although it was quite a challenge and we had to take a few unexpected detours, we are coming out of this global pandemic stronger than ever.

We want to personally thank you for your patience and support as we still tried to go above and beyond to provide exceptional pediatric care during unprecedented times.

Even though we strive for perfection, we know things weren’t always perfect this past year. Please know that we did the best we could under the circumstances.

As always, we value your feedback and want you to know that we hear you when you take the time to offer your feedback.

As life continues to return to normal and the weather improves, we are filled with a sense of enthusiasm and gratitude.

We think you’ll agree that if you can make it through a year like we just had, you can make it through anything!

Cheers to an awesome summer,

-Dr. Jill, Dr. Namm, Dr. Torres, and The HKP Team

The Power of Breakfast

The way you start your day often sets the stage for how your day will turn out.

How productive you will be and how much energy you will have can often be traced back to how you treated your body when you woke up and equally as important to how good your sleep was the night before- which is a consequence of how you treated yourself during the day. Do you see how the cycle is a never-ending loop? But for now, let’s focus on the morning and breakfast. 

Most people think you can get by on an English muffin, bowl of cereal, or a granola bar and a glass of orange juice. However, if we consider our bodies to be elite race cars then these kinds of foods are equivalent to low-octane gasoline. This short burst of sugary energy only lasts for a short time until our body hits the wall and crashes mid-morning when we need to be operating on all cylinders at school or work. The best premium octane fuel for your body is not from processed carbohydrates and sugary foods and drinks, but rather from whole foods and plenty of water. 

What even constitutes a “whole food”? The easiest way to know if you are eating a whole food is to ask yourself if what you are about to eat came from a garden, a tree, or from the land or sea. While a Rice Krispie treat does have rice in it, you would not be able to pick one from a tree branch! Rather, examples of whole foods are pieces of fruit like berries, olives, and avocados, and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and carrots that you can easily identify on your plate. Healthy protein sources include lean cuts of meat like grilled chicken breast, a salmon filet, and ground lean beef. Nuts and seeds are also great options for protein and healthy fats.

Starting your day with proper hydration is also vital to your body being able to function at full capacity. As with our solid foods, our liquid intake choices have a significant impact on our energy levels. Lemonade, soda, and iced tea are loaded with sugar which floods our bodies with large amounts of sugar, causing our insulin levels to rise and then drop drastically causing fatigue, brain fog, and less ability to concentrate. Plain water/water with lemon, seltzer, or caffeine-free herbal tea are far better options to nourish your cells, help with digestion, and keep the toxins flowing out of your body. 

So, now it is easier to understand why the right kind of breakfast is so important to young people while their bodies are still growing and developing.  Be careful of the early morning temptations that you will likely encounter. Usually, these quick fix options are not ideal if you want to perform at your best for the rest of the day. If you can stick to lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates then you will fuel yourself with boundless energy and be able to focus on the important parts of your day like learning and succeeding.

If you really want to step up your game, combine the right breakfast choices with intentional movement and positive thinking and you can bypass any mid-morning pit stops and do a victory lap at the end of your day!

Dr. Jill 🙂

Sports Physical form Update

The COVID-19 virus thankfully spared most children from illness, but current data is showing that heart muscle fibers can get damaged causing myocarditis in children who have been infected by SARS-CoV-2. The AAP recommends that all athletes undergo a clearance physical exam prior to returning to sports.

While many of those infected had a positive test, there are many others who have not been formally tested who may also have been positive. Therefore, in an effort to prevent any heart-related problems as our patients return to sports we are requiring a pre-participation physical called a “sports physical” for all of our patient-athletes. If you have an upcoming annual physical you can bring your sports forms then, however, if your last annual physical was greater than 3 months prior to the date of the sports form we are requiring a sports physical visit.

The sports physical visit will include a shortened work up of height, weight, and blood pressure, routine screening questions including specific cardiac screening questions, and a physical exam. This visit is NOT considered a yearly physical and your insurance may require a copay.

Our goal, as always, is to put children first and keep our young student-athletes safe so they can enjoy the sports that many have missed this past year due to the pandemic!
To schedule your appointment call 844-437-5455.

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