Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions
During a pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and our physicians believe it is very important for children to continue to receive medical care and stay up to date on vaccinations. We continue to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of your child and family, including separate times for well and sick care, telehealth appointments, curbside check-in and visits, and enhanced cleaning procedures in our offices.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new strain of Coronavirus, which is a family of common viruses that tend to cause cold symptoms in people. This one is unique in that it is more contagious and causes more severe illness, including more deaths, than the typical Coronavirus. Luckily, children generally have milder symptoms than adults. It spreads from person-to-person from respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 still tends to be mild in children. Typical symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and shortness of breath/difficulty breathing. Individuals may also experience headaches, body aches, vomiting/diarrhea (more in children), and loss of taste or smell. The symptoms of COVID-19 may also be similar to many other viral illnesses, such as the common cold or influenza.
How is COVID-19 Treated?
Most pediatric patients with COVID-19 recover by resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and using fever/pain-reducing medications. There are no antibiotics that will treat COVID-19 due to it being a viral illness. In some cases, patients will require hospitalization and more advanced treatment.
How do we prevent the spread of COVID-19?
You can protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking these precautions:
- Stay home when possible.
- Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart from others when possible.
- Wear a mask when you are outside of your home and cannot maintain social distancing from others. We require that all visitors and patients over the age of 2 wear a mask when inside of our offices.
- Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer) or use hand sanitizer (without Methanol) when handwashing isn’t possible.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces.
- Clean and disinfect “High-Touch” surfaces often.
- Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals.
Who needs to quarantine?
It is recommended that anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 quarantines for 14-days after the last date of exposure. In some cases, the department of health may provide you or your child with an order to quarantine as part of contact tracing. This includes people who previously had COVID-19 and people who have taken a serologic (antibody) test and have antibodies to the virus.
What counts as close contact?
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes.
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them).
- You shared eating or drinking utensils.
- They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
What do I need to know about COVID-19 testing?
Types of COVID-19 Testing
There are several different types of tests being marketed for COVID-19 testing. The primary method for active COVID-19 diagnostic testing is through SARS CoV2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. This test is designed to detect the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens such as nasal or oral swabs.
You may have also heard about antibody testing to determine if you previously had COVID-19. This type of testing detects two different antibodies (IgM/IgG) to the coronavirus. The concern about this test is that we do not have enough data to feel confident in the interpretation of these results for the following reasons:
- There may be crossover with other coronavirus strains that could result in a false positive.
- There can be a negative test in the first 6-7 days of symptoms, resulting in a false sense of security which may result in spreading the virus to others.
- Even if an antibody is detected (a positive result) the results do not have clear implications in terms of contagiousness or risk of spreading illness.
We encourage our patients to contact our office to determine which, if any, COVID-19 test is the right plan of care.
My child has been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID infection – Should we be tested?
Anderson Hills Pediatrics, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), generally recommends that persons exposed only be tested if they develop symptoms of COVID infection (Any one of the following: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing OR at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell).
If you or your child is experiencing these symptoms and you think it could be COVID-19, it is important to contact our office to determine the next best step for medical treatment with your child’s pediatrician. Be sure to mention all exposure and symptoms when speaking to a member of our team.
How long after exposure should someone wait for testing?
The incubation period (time until symptoms develop) is about 2 to 14 days, with an average of about 5 days. However, the day shedding of the virus causing COVID-19 might start is not known. This means that getting tested before symptoms start may not be helpful. We cannot be certain that a person with a negative test was not infected.
What should you expect if your child was tested at our office for COVID-19?
If you were tested today at Anderson Hills Pediatrics, you should remain quarantined until you get your results. Your test results will be back in 2 to 3 days at which time you will receive a call from someone from our office. We will call to discuss your test results with you regardless if they are positive or negative. If you do not receive a call after 3 days, please call us at 513-232-8100 and ask to speak to a nurse (option 4).
Should you travel during the pandemic?
As the cases of COVID-19 grow around the country, we want to help you in making the most informed decision prior to loading up the car or booking your next trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created guidance for considerations for travel. Before you go, a few considerations are:
- Are you heading to a “hot spot?” Traveling to areas with increased COVID-19 can increase your risk of infection. There also may be increased travel restrictions due to the viral spread. It is encouraged that you check state or local health departments for more information before you travel.
- Will you be able to socially distance while traveling? Being less than 6 feet from others can increase your chance of infecting others or becoming infected.
- Are you at an increased risk of infection? If you or those you or those you are planning to travel with are at an increased risk of illness, it is recommended that travel be limited.
- Will you need to quarantine after traveling? Some states, work-sites, and schools may require or recommend a 14-day quarantine after traveling.
- Are you sick or have you been in contact with someone that has COVID-19? Travel is not recommended for anyone that is sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
- How will you travel? Traveling by airplane, bus, train or even stopping at rest stops can lead to virus exposure. Choosing a way to travel that allows you to avoid close contact with others is the most ideal.
Should you choose to travel during this time, we recommend that you continue to follow the CDC recommendations for COVID-19:
- Wear your mask or face covering.
- Clean your hands often and when soiled by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with others by staying 6 feet apart as much as possible.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Limit your exposure to others as often as possible.
Should I send my child to school this year?
This is definitely not a one size fits all situation. The AAP, the CDC, Washington, Columbus, local health departments, have all offered their recommendations/opinions. They are addressing what is best for the majority of children. We agree with the AAP that “schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being and provide our children and adolescents with academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/speech and mental health therapy, and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits.”
However, you the parents are not making decisions for the average child, you are making decisions for your child. Here are some things to consider, some questions you should ask yourself and your child, if she/he is old enough:
- Clearly your first consideration is your child. Is your child healthy or does he/she suffer from a chronic medical condition that may be exacerbated by a serious respiratory infection? How did your child fare during in-home schooling this spring? Does your child need in person instruction in the classroom or does he/she do better learning at their own pace on their own time? Can your child navigate the virtual assignment board, find the necessary virtual materials, and submit them correctly? Is your child self-motivated to keep on track? It is very likely that in person instruction will be interrupted as the number of COVID-19 cases increases. Can your student adapt to the possibility of going from in school to all virtual, to maybe a hybrid model? Or is consistency better for your student which could be achieved by an all online year. Does your child thrive in the social interactions with her or his peers or are those added stressors? Do you rely on nutritional support for your child in the school setting? Does your child have special needs, needs like OT/PT/speech/behavioral or mental health support? Are you concerned that your child has a learning disability that needs to be evaluated at school? Does your child have adequate opportunities at home for physical activity?
- Then think of your own situation. Being a parent is a full-time job. Being a teacher is a full-time job. Are you equipped to support your child’s learning on a daily basis for multiple hours per day? Do you have a job outside the home? Are you a single parent? Are you healthy or do you have a chronic medical condition that requires you or those around you to quarantine? What about other members of your household? How would the possibly changing situation of in-school learning going to fully online to possibly a hybrid model affect your household? Do you need more consistency due to job or other constraints? School strategies may need to be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the community. How will you be able to adapt to those changes?
- What about extended family circumstances? Do you need to care for a sick grandparent or other individuals that are at higher risk from Covid-19? Do you have extended family available to you to help with your child’s learning? Are family members available to help when your child gets ill?
- What is your school’s proposal? We know that social distancing decreases the risk of infection. The primary mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets by persons in close proximity to each other. Is your school able to socially distance children? How often will your child be in crowded hallways or are the students staying in the same classrooms and only teachers are moving between rooms? We also know that face masks mitigate the spread of the virus, when social distancing is not feasible. Is you school implementing a face mask requirement? Will your child be able to tolerate such a requirement? Where is your child eating lunch? What about physical education? Spread through respiratory droplets will be more of a concern at those times. What about busing or drop-off and pick-up procedures?
However, as a parent,CO you know your child best. If you have specific questions about your child’s situation, please call us. As your child’s primary care provider we are happy to discuss your specific situation with you.
Is there an association between Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) and COVID-19?
Some patients presenting with PMIS are found to have positive SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) PCR tests or are found to have antibodies to the virus. These cases are very infrequent.
- Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome presents with:
- A persistent fever (100.4 F or above)
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
- Rash or changes in skin color
- Trouble breathing
- Listlessness/lethargy or confusion
While PMIS sounds frightening, please be aware that this condition is very rare.