COVID-19 WEEKLY UPDATE
This pandemic has impacted us in ways that we could not have imagined. We now have evidence that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is attacking our children. Our children are a vulnerable population to which careful attention needs to be paid. This update provides insight into how COVID-19 may affect them, and what we can all do to help. Also included in this update is information on social distancing and the use of masks.
Children and COVID-19
When infected with COVID-19, children do not present as typically as do infected adults. Their symptoms are more often milder. Children less than 18 years of age have been reported to present with fever, sore throat, headache, cough, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and/or respiratory distress. Most recently, medical centers across the United States and globally are reporting that children are presenting to hospitals with an illness currently called Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome. Not all affected children have tested positive for the coronavirus, but reports from Europe and several cities in the United States show a definite link. Physicians are considering this as a delayed immune response in children to the virus. However, more investigations and studies are needed to define the syndrome’s cause as more and more cases are being identified.
The most common symptoms associated with Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome are:
- Red eyes
- Bright red tongue
- High fever
- Abdominal pain with or without vomiting and diarrhea
- Shock with very low blood pressure
- Poor function of kidneys and heart
Though there have been several deaths in children associated with this group of symptoms, the majority of affected children do well following treatment in a hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be issuing guidance to physicians and health care providers on recognizing this syndrome and reporting identified cases.
Some COVID-19 symptoms in children are so mild that the disease is missed, which means children can have the disease, not be diagnosed, and play a role in the transmission of disease to others. For this reason, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children two years old and older wear face masks when in public. For younger children, it is important to let them help design their masks or use the fabric of a favorite character to encourage them to be cooperative. Face masks should not be worn by children less than two years old because the mask may cause suffocation due to the small size of the younger children’s airway. Young children can be taught to wash their hands even if it requires making a game out of it with small rewards for successful participation.
It is extremely important that we are vigilant about the impact of COVID-19 on our children as more is learned from physicians and health scientists.
Need help explaining COVID-19 to your child? Click here: n.pr/2SYzMAg for a free children’s book written by a pediatrician about this coronavirus.
Why Everyone Should Continue to Practice Social Distancing and Use Face Coverings
As communities begin to open commercial businesses, retail outlets, and other industries and venues, it is important to continue to mitigate the spread of this novel coronavirus by NOT engaging in risky behavior and continuing to practice social distancing measures. Numerous video images and news accounts show that the relaxing of stay-at-home orders have increased social engagement without masks being worn or reduced efforts to engage in physical distancing. Data is proving that:
- Social distancing works to mitigate the spread of this virus;
- The CDC has confirmed that the use of face masks protects you and others;
- New information is being gathered day by day about the virus itself, its spread, and its impact on our bodies, which means we need to continue our vigilance;
- Communities of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 (See chart below).