Keeping Your Kids Safe From Coronavirus

As part of Northwell Health Physician Partners, we at Westchester Health would like to share the following article from Northwell Health concerning the COVID-19 outbreak, written by Lorry Rubin, MD, Chief of Division of Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, North Shore University Hospital.

In brief, the article discusses:

  • that most COVID-19 cases are milder in children
  • the importance of vaccinating your children
  • how social distancing doesn’t mean your kids shouldn’t go outside every day
  • handwashing protocols

The full article is reproduced below.

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What a pediatric infectious disease specialist wants you to know about COVID-19 and kids

Dear Doctor,

I’ve got three children: My youngest is only 2 months old, and my oldest has asthma. We’re staying inside our house and washing our hands like crazy, but I’m still really nervous that my kids will catch the coronavirus and get very sick. My daughter is due to have her 3-month immunizations in a few weeks and I’d have to bring all three kids with me. Should I cancel that appointment to avoid exposing my kids to germs in the doctor’s office?

Sincerely,

“Worried Momma of Three”

Dear Worried Momma:

The reassuring news for parents is that just as in China and other parts of the world where coronavirus has spread to large populations, what we are finding here in the U.S. is that cases of COVID-19 are much milder in children than they are in adults.

At our hospital, we’ve had only a handful of children hospitalized* because of the COVID-19 virus, including a few infants under 3 months of age, and none of these children developed severe disease or needed to be admitted to the ICU. They all had reasonably routine and short hospital stays, and in most cases all that was required was intravenous fluids to treat dehydration, or oxygen therapy to support breathing. We’ve even had a few COVID-19-positive kids with a history of asthma, but the virus has not worsened their condition, although the jury is still out on whether this will be true for most kids with asthma.

While it’s good that you’re practicing social distancing, it’s also important that your child receive her vaccinations. After all, those other pathogens that your child is being immunized against haven’t gone on holiday.

If you’re concerned, call your pediatrician’s office and ask if they have set up separate waiting areas for sick and well children, or if they are scheduling all their well visits during one part of the day to help avoid exposures.

And keep in mind that social distancing doesn’t mean that you have to stay inside your house. In fact, it’s good for children to get outside every day. You definitely want to avoid going to playgrounds since those have a lot of “high touch” surfaces, and you do need to make sure your kids stay 6 feet away from other children and adults, but there are plenty of things your kids can still do outside while staying safe, including bike riding or kicking a soccer ball around an open field.

Finally, while thorough hand washing is definitely necessary whenever children come in from outside and also after using the bathroom and before meals, it’s less of an issue when you’re all home together. But if a repair person or someone else comes into your home for some reason, then you’d definitely want to wipe down all the high-touch surfaces in your house like doorknobs and countertops, and also wash hands.

*All statistics are current to the time of publication.

by Blog