What parents need to know about coronavirus disease 2019. Pediatrician Dr. Peter Jung notes that thus far “no children under 10 years of age have died from the COVID-19 to date and, for unclear reasons few children are developing severe symptoms.”
Dr. Jung continues to note that “children are still at similar risk as the rest of the population in terms of becoming infected; so it is imperative to consider them as vectors of the virus, especially since they are less symptomatic and thus more ambulatory, and less prone to prudent hygiene habits.”
With new information and findings daily, the situation could still evolve. Dr. Jung recommends following CDC guidelines and to be more vigilant with those who have high risk such as those over 60 years or have compromised immune systems.
What is the Coronavirus Disease 2019?
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus was not previously known to cause human illness until the recent outbreak. It is believed that the virus was initially transmitted to humans from a wild animal. Human-to-human transmission is now the most common route of transmission.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Similar to many viral respiratory illnesses, the symptoms of the virus mimic the common cold and include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear between two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Also be mindful that there are many causes for upper respiratory and allergy symptoms that are much more common than COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 spread?
As with any viral respiratory illness, COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small respiratory droplets, which are dispersed when a person with the virus coughs or sneezes and are then inhaled by another person. These droplets can also land on objects and surfaces around the infected person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
How do I protect myself from getting COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent the spread of germs is proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Below are some other tips:
- Wear a mask around other people
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and perform hand hygiene immediately.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?
Based on CDC guidelines, if you think you may have COVID-19 and are experiencing minor symptoms, Blue Fish Pediatrics recommends you self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days and check our website for more information. And please call us if you have additional questions. For severe symptoms, call ahead to your local Emergency Center prior to arriving or dial 911 if you need emergent care.
How can I be tested for COVID-19?
Please click the ‘Blue Fish COVID-19 Testing’ toggle on our COVID-19 page.
What happens if my child tests positive for Coronavirus?
If a patient is confirmed with COVID-19, reassuringly the pediatric population has fared very well with the illness. Most will only require a 14-day quarantine or a period of isolation at home and will not require hospitalization. However, should they become more acutely symptomatic please contact us ASAP.
What about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children?
MIS-C stands for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Formerly called pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome, or PIMS, it describes a new health condition seen in children who have been infected with novel coronavirus, recovered from it and later have an immune response that results in significant levels of inflammation in organ systems and symptoms. MIS-C is similar to other inflammatory conditions like Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Children who have MIS-C generally did not have obvious symptoms when they were infected with novel coronavirus, like cough, and generally were healthy prior to developing MIS-C. Fortunately, MIS-C is quite rare and to date most children have fared very well with proper treatment.
Will taking Tamiflu help me protect myself from getting COVID-19?
No, Tamiflu will not protect you from getting the novel coronavirus. Tamiflu is a drug to treat the flu, not a vaccine. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers internationally have been working to develop antivirals, but at the present time, there is no specific treatment or vaccine.
How long does COVID-19 survive on surfaces?
Studies suggest that coronaviruses may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.
How does COVID-19 compare to other Coronaviruses?
There are several common coronaviruses that typically cause respiratory illness, like the common cold. Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild infection to severe respiratory illness.
Is it safe to receive mail from any areas with confirmed cases of the Coronavirus?
Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is extremely low and the risk of catching the virus from a package that has been moved, traveled and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also extremely low.
How is Blue Fish Pediatrics protecting patients and staff from Coronavirus?
Blue Fish Pediatrics continues to take proactive steps to protect our employees, physicians, patients and community by implementing a workforce protocol based on CDC guidelines. These protocols includes screening our workforce daily, wearing masks at all times, and following CDC recommendation for sterilizing the exam and waiting rooms.
What is Blue Fish Pediatrics doing to prevent the potential spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to patients and physicians?
To further protect the health of our patients, workforce and the community, and prevent the potential spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Blue Fish Pediatrics is asking that at this time only one caretaker and the patient needing to be seen come to the office when at all possible – we understand this is not always feasible. Additionally, to reduce exposure to healthy children we will be using a modified scheduled for the time being.
Whom may I contact with questions on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) when my physician is not available?
If you have questions regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Houston Health Department call center is available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will also return voice messages left after hours on the following day.
Houstonians can call the center at 832-393-4220 and talk to department staff to obtain information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Article updated May 28, 2020
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