With COVID-19 circulating-especially amongst children-I go over what to do when your child is sick with COVID-19
Accept the now
First of all, for many of us our brains have been programmed for dread this entire pandemic and COVID. I first want you to breathe and tell yourself: “This is a virus. My child is strong and they will fight this. If my child needs help, we have hospitals to help us.”
Please don’t forget that there ARE amazing outcomes.
I can’t predict who will be hospitalized and who won’t (similar to RSV), so it really comes down to remembering you did all you could and let’s focus on the now.
Try to reduce risk of spread in your home, but from a practicality standpoint-do your best.
The CDC has recommendations on isolating if someone is positive, but they fail to recognize that this is not always doable with small children who depend on your for everything or who are yanking off their mask or yours. When my husband got Omicron in December, it was still unknown what this variant looked like for kids so he masked around the house even though he barely had symptoms. When my son got COVID three weeks later (from a family friend), we didn’t mask around Ryaan or mask Ryaan. We monitored our symptoms and tested accordingly (we never developed symptoms). I recently had COVID (May 2022) and we also made the decision not to mask myself given Ryaan and my husband both had COVID, Ryaan would continue to yank the mask off my face, and the low risk of complications of COVID for Ryaan and my husband if they were to get it. We monitored symptoms in my husband and Ryaan and tested if needed. Both my husband and Ryaan didn’t develop symptoms. The point being–we didn’t completely isolate. I did sleep separate from my husband due to my cough, but we shared all communal spaces unmasked. DO what works best for your family and set-up. If an older sibling has COVID and you have a newborn or someone immunocompromised at home, act as you would during any illness before a pandemic.
Remember, this is a virus so it will do virus-like things:
Symptoms have included cough (more mucous-y coughs than dry), runny noses, fever, and vomiting and/or diarrhea. Focus on the following as you would with any virus:
- Do age appropriate liquids. So if your child is bottle or breast-feeding, continue to do so. If over one, and drinking milk and/or water continue to keep them hydrated. If your child is not making urine, not making tears if they normally do make tears, or seem listless (tired and lack of interest in meals), have them evaluated by a clinician. Remember, to offer meals however when they’re sick with a virus they may refuse (and that’s okay). HYDRATION is key.
- Breathing issues
- Monitor for difficulty breathing such as retractions in the ribs, in the neck area, or nostril flaring. For patients with symptoms of croup (a barky cough), monitor for the same signs of difficulty breathing.
- Watch my youtube video about vomiting management
- Fever persistence
- Overall discomfort
- If your child is listless, dehydrated, or inconsolable despite medicine like ibuprofen or acetaminophen as recommended for age, they should be evaluated. My fever YouTube video discusses this more.
Thoughts on MIS-C
There have been a total of 8,210 cases as of date out of 13.2 million total COVID cases. So although this is VERY rare, I need to talk about this because since we are seeing many COVID cases. I want to make sure families know what to look for with MIS-C. The Omicron surge did cause some MIS-C but less to a degree than the delta surge, which is reassuring.
MIS-C is thought to be an inflammatory response to a prior COVID exposure or infection.
- The median age of patients with MIS-C was 9.
- Half of children with MIS-C were between the ages of 5 and 13.
- 59% of the reported patients with race/ethnicity information available occurred in children who are Hispanic/Latino (1,664 patients) or Black, Non-Hispanic (1,939 patients).
- 98% of patients had a positive test result for SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The remaining 2% of patients had contact with someone with COVID-19.
- 61% of reported patients were male.
Signs of MIS-C
- Ongoing fever PLUS more than one of the following (fever more than four days):
- Stomach pain
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dizziness or lightheadedness (signs of low blood pressure)
- Skin rash
- Swollen hands and feet
The CDC is still learning about MIS-C and how it affects children, so we don’t know why some children have gotten sick with MIS-C and others have not. We also do not know if children with certain health conditions are more likely to get MIS-C. These are among the many questions CDC is working to try to understand. We do know vaccination helps reduce it by 91%, however we do not have data yet for those under one.
All CDC recommendations are based on the best data and science available at the time, and we will update them as we learn more
Symptoms of long COVID include fatigue, headaches, brain fog, memory and concentration difficulties, sleep disturbances, changes in smell and taste, lightheadedness, racing heart rates upon standing and symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. For more information, read the blog I wrote here:
Diabetes and the CDC
There’s a circulating article about COVID and an increased diabetes risk. They noticed that the Diabetes risk was higher 166% higher in covid group vs non-COVID. We still have much to learn about this association, but it’s thought that the virus can impact the pancreas leading to this. Another thought is that were these children genetically predisposed to getting Type I DM (as it is an autoimmune condition that does run in families) and this virus was the one that set it off? Many times, we learn someone has Type I DM after a recent viral infection.
There is so much to learn, but for now focus on your child in front of you. Monitoring for things like increased thirst, urination, weight loss, or fatigue after a COVID infection is helpful as well.
But, please remember: We ARE seeing good outcomes with COVID and kids in this pandemic, and although many have been hospitalized; remember you did all the risk reduction you could and them getting COVID is not your fault.
Let that guilt go so you can enjoy and be in the moment with your child.