There is much concern about the coronavirus as there are additional cases occurring in the United States, and as the WHO has confirmed a global pandemic. I wanted to take a moment to share some information that we CURRENTLY understand about this novel coronavirus and its resulting illness (COVID-19).
First, there are many strains of the corona virus that humans experience as colds. Many children get other corona viruses every year. This one is a new strain that has been identified this year and has caused widespread illness in several countries. The hardest part of the timing of this illness is we are still seeing high levels of flu (and other common viruses), so it can be challenging to determine which virus is responsible for the symptoms.
This newly identified coronavirus seems to cause more lower respiratory illness (pneumonias) than other coronavirus strains. So far preliminary studies indicate that it is worse for adults with chronic illness, especially elderly people. While most children seem to have mild illness (or no symptoms at all), if your child develops significant cough, breathing fast or hard, or seems uncomfortable, your child needs to be evaluated. If your child has a chronic illness (asthma, auto-immune disorder, diabetes, sickle cell, among others), your child MAY be at higher risk with this virus.
Always call us to schedule an appointment, as we need to ensure we are the appropriate level of medical care and so we can limit the spread of the illness. We do not have a rapid test for this virus yet. We do have access to tests through Quest and DHEC, but the it takes several days to receive results. We will also perform rapid flu and strep testing, as well as respiratory PCR panels that rule out other viruses and bacteria prior to considering coronavirus as the source of illness.
Beginning Monday 3/16/20, for at least 2 weeks, we will be modifying our scheduling to reserve mornings for well children, with late mornings and afternoons reserved for sick children – our intention is to minimize any exposure to well children, especially babies. We will remain available by phone.
Stay calm if your child becomes ill. As with the flu, handwashing, coughing into elbow/tissue, and cleaning/sanitizing surfaces to prevent spread. If your child is ill, make sure to keep them home (whether it is from flu or coronavirus or any other virus).
As always, we are just a call away when you have questions or concerns. Another integrative pediatrician shares this video aimed at supporting parents in decreasing stress, thus supporting the immune system during this challenging time! If you have not viewed our Fever: Why You Shouldn’t Fear It, please consider viewing it to support you with concerns regarding fever (available on member-only page). Also view our blog about keeping your child well during cold and flu season.