The arrival of the new coronavirus COVID-19 has changed so many aspects of our daily lives. First and foremost, it is changing the way all of us think about our health and our children’s health. As medical professionals, Children’s Wellness Center’s top priority is keeping your family safe. To work toward that goal, our team has collected a variety of information and resources for parents of kids at any age.
CAN KIDS GET COVID-19?
Fortunately, children seem to get COVID-19 less often, are more likely to be asymptomatic, and are less likely to spread it to others. However, it’s still important to take steps to protect your child as some children and infants have become severely ill with COVID-19, and sadly, some of these cases have been fatal.
Information is also coming to light about another illness that seems to develop in kids who have been exposed to COVID-19. This illness is called Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C. You may have also heard it called PIMS, which stands for Pediatric Inflammatory Multi-System Syndrome. MIS-C causes inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to a variety of serious health risks.
While both COVID-19 and MIS-C are rare, there is no way to know whether your child will be one of the few who experience severe complications. As a result, it’s best for all parents to take precautions to protect their families.
Prevention is critical with COVID-19 for children as well as adults. To keep your family healthy, follow these essential tips:
Wash your hands often, including every time you use the restroom and every time you enter your home. Be sure to lather your hands in soap for at least 20 seconds every time you wash. Go through the CDC’s five-step COVID-19 hand-washing routine with your kids to show them the proper technique
Wear a mask (and use your mask correctly) every time you go outside your home or any time someone outside of your household comes to your home. This applies to everyone over the age of two. There are numerous types of masks that can protect your family
If you need to cough, cough into your elbow, even if you are wearing a mask. This will further stop the droplets that could carry COVID-19
Avoid touching your face and teach your child to do the same. The 2019 coronavirus and other germs can get into your body through your eyes, mouth, and nostrils. If you must touch your face, wash your hands thoroughly first
Maintain social distancing at all times. This means you should stay six feet away from anyone who isn’t in your household
Get comfortable at home. Minimize any outings that aren’t absolutely necessary, for yourself and your kids. If you do need to go out, to shop for groceries for example, leave as many members of the family as possible at home. Use hand sanitizer the minute you re-enter your car and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly when you get home
Regularly disinfect your home, especially after you bring purchased items into your home
These are the most essential steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 for your own family and for the rest of your community. Remember, the less COVID-19 that is present throughout the community, the safer we all are, so it’s important for all of us to do our part.
There are currently two very different types of tests for COVID-19. The first is a test to detect the active virus. In other words, this test tells you if you currently have COVID-19 in your system, whether or not you are experiencing symptoms.
This test is taken using a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab. In most cases, the testing center will send your swab to a lab and will call you to report your test results several days later. The exact timeline will depend on the lab’s current testing volume. Currently, because of the surge in cases and increased demand for testing, results are often taking over 7 days.
The second type of test is an antibody test. For this test, a healthcare provider will take a blood sample to look for the COVID-19 antibodies in your blood. Antibodies can be detected approximately 14-20 days after infection. However, keep in mind that researchers are not sure how long these antibodies remain effective. Having antibodies does not mean you are immune to COVID-19, nor does it mean that you can’t spread the virus, so continue taking precautions. In addition, the accuracy of an antibody test depends on how long it has been since you were exposed to the virus, which is sometimes unknown.
You can find a COVID-19 testing location near you on the Georgia Department of Public Health website. The link is on our “Additional Resources” page linked below. Keep in mind that each testing location has its own limitations and stipulations. For example, some will only perform tests if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been recently exposed to someone who tested positive. Be sure to contact your testing center for details.
EXPOSURE / QUARANTINE
If you know or believe a member of your family was exposed to COVID-19, the best step you can take is to use preventative measures to protect both your family and the rest of the community. To start, you need to consider the type of exposure you experienced. For instance, spending extended time in close contact with a COVID-19+ individual has a higher risk than being in the same building as a COVID+ individual without coming into contact with them. Find out the different types of exposures and their associated risks on our “Additional Resources” page linked below.
If you have been exposed, it’s important to quarantine for a period of time to avoid spreading the virus to anyone else. The CDC offers excellent quarantine guidelines to explain who should quarantine, how long to quarantine, and how to quarantine safely. You can find them on our “Additional Resources” page linked below.
SCHOOL / DAYCARE GUIDANCE
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has offered continuously updated guidelines for schools, daycare centers, and similar facilities to help our communities stay safe and healthy. To find their most recent recommendations, review the CDC COVID-19 guidelines on our “Additional Resources” page linked below.
Understandably, many families are eager to get kids back in school and daycare facilities so their parents can return to a more normal work schedule and take care of other tasks. However, it’s important to make that transition safely, using a variety of precautions to make sure your child’s health is the top priority.
For many families, the decision is up to the school districts and the options they will or will not provide. For instance, some schools plan to offer distance learning options as well as in-school learning.
If you have the choice of whether to send your child back to school or daycare, there are many factors to consider. You need to weigh your child’s risk level (for instance, whether your child has preexisting conditions that put them at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications like a weakened immune system, diabetes, or chronic lung condition). You should consider the risk level for the other members of your household too.
To learn more about COVID-19 from other trusted healthcare specialists, review our list of additional resources.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Kids who have any of the following conditions have a higher risk for developing serious complications of COVID-19:
Moderate to severe asthma (may potentially increase the risk of COVID-19) or other lung disease
Congenital heart conditions
If your child has any of these conditions, be especially cautious about taking preventative actions against COVID-19. If you aren’t sure whether your child is high-risk, check with your pediatric provider.
COVID-19 can cause different symptoms in different people, especially in kids. However, the most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Chills, especially with repeated shaking
Lost of taste and/or smell
Nausea or vomiting