Five Things Parents Should Know plus One Did You Know
How are children affected by COVID 19? Initial reports from China were that children were impacted little by the virus and if so, symptoms were mild. However, further epidemiologic study has revealed no age group is spared, although children are less affected. The following are key points from the first large study of children in China and the just published CDC report on children in the USA.
- Among 149,760 confirmed COVID 19 cases, 1.7% were children
- The median age affected was 11 years
- Slight increase incidence in males
- Infants <1 year and children with underlying medical conditions were the most likely to be hospitalized or require ICU care, although this remained a small number of children within these two studies.
- The following symptoms were recorded in 291 pediatric patients: Fever (163), Cough (158), Shortness of Breath (38), Myalgias (muscles aches) (66), Runny Nose (21), Sore Throat (71), Headache (81), Nausea and Vomiting (31), Abdominal Pain (17), and Diarrhea (37).
While these studies have limitations regarding collection of data as expected in a fast moving pandemic, it does provide guidance for those most at risk. Families with children that have immunosuppression or respiratory issues such as should be especially careful and report early symptoms to their physicians.
Verify with your pediatrician the types of medications that you are using if your child develops any of the above noted symptoms. Treating fever with alternating acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help lower fevers. Cough and cold remedies are not recommended for children under the age of 4. However, use of a humidifier or saline nasal spray will help with congestion.
Teach your child the value of washing their hands on a regular basis. Humming or singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice is a good estimate of the time. This simple measure of health will serve them long after this pandemic. While homemade antibacterial recipes have been circulating, it is only those that have greater than 60% alcohol which are effective. Handwashing remains the preferred method of cleansing if done appropriately.
Know your source of information. There are so many sources for you to go to for guidance, however, I am going to recommend two. The first is the CDC. However, this can be easily overwhelming (speaking from experience of navigating it for this post). Therefore, I would go directly to this link which really will give you what you need to know as a parent. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children.html. The second is a website from Dr. Elisabeth Song, a holistic pediatrician. http://www.healthykidshappykids.com who gives practical advice for this season and beyond.
Remember that children feel what parents think. No matter the age of your child, create a time for them to share what they may be feeling during this time. If the age gap between children is great, create time for one on one dialogue. Reassure them that they are safe. Create virtual ways for them to connect with family and their peers.
Did you know that touch can improve pain management, lower blood pressure, decrease violence, improve trust, create greater learning engagement, and build a stronger immune system? While we social distance outside our home, if healthy keep up the power of touch within your home.
I chose this picture of my grandson Fisher who is now 4 and our little dog Chloe who is 14 as I imagined the caption, “Are you in quarantine too?”