Tag Archives: Dr. Jonathan Sollinger

Pediatrician: Kids “Resilient” In COVID Crisis

Overall, Jonathan Sollinger says, kids are responding well to the COVID-19 crisis.

“They’re resilient and capable. They’re rising to the occasion.”

He should know. One of 6 physicians at Willows Pediatrics, Dr. Sollinger is closely attuned to the health — physical and emotional — of infants, toddlers, children, tweens and teens. Overall, he is heartened by what he sees.

Dr. Jonathan Sollinger

He knows anxiety levels are up. Pre-existing issues have been “illuminated.” The news is frightening. But youngsters understand what’s going on. They are processing the information, adapting, and reacting in generally appropriate ways.

Willows’ practice is adapting too. There are fewer calls to the office. Most injuries are down (through trampoline mishaps and bike scrapes are up). So are contagious diseases kids pass along in school: colds, strep throat, late-season flu. They still get rashes and appendicitis.

A young patient reacts appropriately — wearing a mask, and putting one on her doll.

Some also get the coronavirus.

Dr. Sollinger sees cases. Primarily they are students back from college, though some younger teenagers have it as well.

“They’ve done very well,” he says. “But there’s a lot of coughing, and long bouts of fever — 8, 10, 12 days. And of course there’s always fear.”

“But these kids are generally healthy. A teenager without asthma or an autoimmune disease can get through this.”

He knows that others besides those who have been diagnosed have had the virus. “Testing is so inadequate,” Dr. Sollinger laments.

His office is a different place than it was 2 months ago. Doctors still see children under 2, to keep up their immunizations. But they see them only in the early morning. Then come regular pediatric visits.

When a patient comes in that the staff has concerns about, everyone wears full PPE. They’re seen in a remote part of the office, at a special time.

Of course, the entire office is cleaned regularly, and thoroughly.

Dr. Sollinger and his colleagues treat most patients — including those with COVID-19 — out of the office, via tele-medicine. They can do many tasks, from inspecting rashes to watching the way a toddler walks, using FaceTime and other apps.

Willows’ staff takes all precautions.

It’s challenging, but prudent. And, the pediatrician says, it is probably a change that will remain even after the virus passes.

He sees some bright spots in the calamity. Parents are spending more time with their children (“that’s also a challenge,” he laughs). People of all ages seem “more willing to ride out difficulties than they were.”

The physician also sees “a lot of ingenuity and kindness. Kids are sewing and 3D-printing masks. They’re cooking for the Gillespie Center.”

Kids are getting creative, making and decorating their own masks.

Dr. Sollinger — who grew up in Westport, and graduated from Staples High School in 1986 — has great praise for his colleagues, all around town.

“It’s not just Willows. All the pediatric offices in Westport are doing a great job.

“We try to be there for the families, do what we can, be voices of reason. This is something we haven’t seen before. But we’re all getting through it.”

Especially the “resilient, capable” kids these pediatricians care for and love.

Over 40. But Not Over The Hill.

There are certain sports you can do all your life: Golf. Tennis. Swimming. Running.

At some point, baseball players move on to softball. Football players trade their helmets for flags.

Soccer — a game of constant running, tough physical contact and diving* all over the place — seems to be a young person’s game.

Don’t tell that to the Fairfield Gaelic-American Club team. With a roster filled with Westport and Westport-related players, they made the finals of the national Over-40 Cup tournament, in Maryland.

In the semifinal, they edged the Florida Kickers — the defending champions national champions — 1-0.

Unfortunately, they fell in the finals to a team from Chicago. “They were fitter, better organized and had a few former MLS [pro] players,” says Todd Coleman.

By day, he’s an investment banker. In his spare time, he’s co-president of the Westport Soccer Association. And — as a former Staples High School captain — he’s representative of his team that is not very Gaelic, but quite Westport-oriented.

The Gaelic-American team. Front row (from left): Anton Camaj, Mauro Rodrigues-Costa, Tim Yates, Sebastian Wojdeska, Michael Hennessey, Tyler Ricks, Edwin Leon, Sofronis Vlahos. Rear: Jamie Poff, Brian Thomas, Larry Piturro, Javier Oritz, Edik Eskandarian, Andy Hoffmann, Omar tork, Xavi Egurbide, Todd Coleman, Matt Lawlor, Seth Cohen, Frank Surace.

Todd’s teammates this weekend included Westporter Tyler Ricks, plus Edwin Leon, Steve Halloran, Tim Yates and Andy Hoffmann. All have played on many Westport men’s teams, and in Staples soccer alumni events (though they are only “honorary” alums).

Gaelic players who helped the team reach the finals, but could not make this trip, include Dr. Jonathan Sollinger, a former Staples captain and Dartmouth College star; Mickey Kydes, Westport Soccer Association director of coaching, former MLS player and Westport resident; EJ Zebro, a certified movement and performance coach who owns Westport’s  TAP StrengthLab, and Mike Brown, who won 2 state championships at Staples and starred at Middlebury College.

Congratulations to all. “06880” is indeed where Westport meets the world — and the world game.

*For headers and tackles, not the fake-injury kind.

Measles Vaccine: No Shot In The Dark

Dr. Jonathan Sollinger is a beloved Westport pediatrician — the 21st-century version of Dr. Beasley, Lebhar or Shiller.

He’s got a firm opinion on the current national measles vaccine “debate.” Fortunately, it’s in line with what nearly all Westporters believe.

“The vast majority of Westport parents fully protect their kids with the CDC- recommended panel of immunizations,” Dr. Sollinger says.

Dr. Jonathan Sollinger

Dr. Jonathan Sollinger

“Quite simply, vaccines work,” he adds. “They save lives. They protect the young, the old, the immuno-compromised (like those on chemo) and the immuno-competent. When you immunize your children, you are also protecting those who cannot be vaccinated due to age, illness or access.”

Fortunately, Westport is far away from Disneyland, which has become ground zero for the reappearance of this supposedly eradicated disease.

Unfortunately, it is not far from New York and Pennsylvania, where measles cases have been reported.

Fortunately, Fairfield County is home to some very educated people. They understand the science behind immunization theory, and do not believe long-debunked myths about the link between immunizations and autism. (Or the political panderings of folks like Chris Christie and “Dr.” Senator Rand Paul.)

Yet Marin County is also home to very educated people, who think they have the right to impose their “wellness” theories on others. That’s just “mindful stupidity,” as Jon Stewart brilliantly explains.

Dr. Sollinger says he has had many discussions recently with parents who are concerned about real or potential Disneyland contacts.

Drs. Beasley, Lebhar and Shiller — and many other pediatricians, in the decades since — vaccinated thousands of Westport children. There have been no measles cases here in years.

That is not a coincidence. It is, as Dr. Sollinger knows, just good, common sense.