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Caring for a Sick Child During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Nurse Mindy

Advice from Nurse Mindy:

Nurse Mindy's corner

The coronavirus risk appears to be low for kids. Most reported coronavirus cases have been in adults, and fortunately, kids who have tested positive are generally experiencing milder symptoms.

If your child becomes sick, try to stay calm! 

It's easy to think that coronavirus symptoms are an emergency; however, it's not necessary to run to the Emergency Room (ER) at the first sign of symptoms, especially because we want to limit our exposure to other sick people and because we all know that ERs are filled with sick people these days!  

You should, however, contact your child’s pediatrician. He or she will know your child's health history and risk factors. Your pediatrician will tell you whether you need a doctor’s office visit, ER visit, or if you can manage symptoms at home.  

If you are unable to speak with your pediatrician, you can attempt a telehealth visit. During a telehealth visit, a doctor can “see” your child while you stay at home. If the doctor thinks your child needs immediate medical attention, they will advise you on what steps to take for further treatment.  

Next, take all the “everyday steps” to limit the spread of germs:

  • Keep your child home to prevent her from being exposed to new germs and spreading her illness to others. 
  • As much as possible, isolate your sick child from other people and pets in your house.
  • Make handwashing a priority for everyone! Everyone should wash their hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Practice frequent cleaning.  Use regular household cleaners or wipes to clean things that get touched a lot (doorknobs, light switches, toys, remote controls, phones, keyboards, iPads, etc.). 

When your child is sick, you should also encourage plenty of rest and fluids. Also watch for signs such as fever, cough, trouble breathing, fast breathing, sleepiness, not being able to tolerate liquids, or signs of dehydration like urinating less than usual. 

If you see any of these signs, be sure to contact your pediatrician or use telehealth services. 

If your child has any of the following symptoms, go directly to the ER or call 911:

  • Has breathing problems. (Things to look for: muscles pulling in between the ribs, or upper chest/ shoulder area, nasal flaring with each breath, inability to speak in full sentences because they are out of breath.)
  • Turns blue
  • Appears confused or lethargic

Based upon your child's symptoms, your pediatrician will decide on testing for the coronavirus. For the test, mucus is collected from the nose and back of the throat and sent to a lab. Information on testing is changing daily, so your pediatrician will give you the most current information on testing sites and criteria, if applicable. 

Currently, there is no medicine or vaccine for coronavirus. You can only treat the symptoms and practice healthy habits (handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding contact with people who are sick, etc.).  

The good news is, most people get better with rest, fluids, and medicine to treat fever.  

Please know that we share your concerns, and we are here for you. You may contact us if you have any questions. We cannot wait until we are together again, behind our gates! Until then, stay home, do not regroup children, clean surfaces frequently, and wash those hands!

Mindy D. Louviere, RN

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