Coronavirus aka COVID-19
What is COVID-19?
We know you have all heard of COVID-19, the new strain of Coronavirus that has made its way to the U.S. Cumberland Pediatrics is currently monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and working to lessen any impact on our physicians, staff, and patients. We are closely following updates and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
At this time, Cumberland Pediatrics does not have the ability to test your child for Coronavirus. The COVID-19 situation is actively evolving and changing so please check the CDC website for the latest updates and information. You can also learn more about COVID-19 from The American Academy of Pediatrics.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that typically cause mild colds and are more prevalent in the winter. It is very likely that you and your children have had at least one, if not several, types of Coronavirus in the past. Because this is a novel, or new, type of Coronavirus, our immune systems haven't seen it before.
I'm being told to Shelter-In-Place. Should my children still go to their well-visits and get their vaccines?
Vaccines are very important, especially for young children under the age of 2 years. Vaccine preventable diseases can cause serious infections and may even cause death. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to make sure our most vulnerable patients are protected against these illnesses. Some vaccines require multiple doses to build up your baby's immunity. If vaccination rates fall, your children could be at risk for these preventable diseases. Kids can even be at risk for these diseases while remaining at home as some viruses are transmitted through dirt and others may be carried by adults who don't show any symptoms. Receiving vaccines will not compromise your child's ability to fight infections from illnesses, including COVID-19.
In addition to providing vaccines, your doctor will weigh and measure your child. It is important to follow a baby's growth pattern to ensure that any issues are caught early, before they become a health problem. Visits also include discussions about important developmental milestones, sleep, and bowel habits, which are critical for a healthy, growing child.
Please call us at 770-951-5400 for recommendations about whether your child should come in for your well visit appointment. Together, we can weigh the risks of exposure to illness against the benefits of these important immunizations.
What if my child gets sick with something other than COVID-19 or has other physical or mental health concerns?The most important thing to do if your child is sick is to call us at 770-951-5400. Donâ€™t overlook health concerns because of COVID-19. Your doctor will let you know if your child needs to be seen. We may even recommend a Virtual Visit, allowing your child to be seen by a doctor without leaving home. Minimizing the number of children coming into the office makes it safer for the patients who do need to be seen in person.
Please don't let your sick child get sicker at home because you are afraid to come into the office. Be sure to call us and get our advice. Remember, you and your Pediatrician are a team with your child's best health interests as your number one goal.
I have a newborn - what should I do to keep her safe?
Newborns are especially vulnerable to infection, so itâ€™s very important that your baby be kept away from anyone who might be sick. There are also important reasons to take your baby to your doctor in the first few weeks after birth. This may seem like conflicting messaging, so here are some concrete ways to keep your baby safe:
- Restrict visitors because even people who do not have symptoms could be infected and carrying the virus.
- Ensure that you and anybody who is around your baby practice excellent hand hygiene. This means washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before touching your baby, especially if you have touched any high-use objects like doorknobs, phones, etc. You should also thoroughly clean phones and other high-touch items at least once a day.
- Take your baby to the doctor for important check-ups. Newborns are at risk for weight loss and jaundice, which can both be concerning. Newborns should have their weight measured and jaundice level checked in the first 3-5 days after birth, and sometimes even more frequently than that. Newborns that did not get tested before being discharged from the hospital also require a heel stick for blood for "Newborn Screening" tests that screen for treatable diseases that can cause severe illness if not identified shortly after birth. Some newborns may also require additional testing based on the screening results taken at the hospital.
How can you help prevent the spread of this virus?
The best prevention is what everyone should be doing anyway:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Ask your kids to sing Happy Birthday twice while washing.
- Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
- If you are coughing, cough into a tissue, throw it away, and wash your hands.
- Social distancing is extremely important. Stay home. If in public, stay 6 feet away from others.
COVID-19 causes cough, congestion and runny nose, and fever. We know that the CDC has reported that anyone can get tested for Coronavirus with a doctor's order, but at this time, Cumberland Pediatrics has not received any testing kits. We do not know if and/or when we will get them in the future. Therefore, AT THIS TIME, WE DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO TEST YOUR CHILD FOR COVID-19.
What to do if your child has fever, cough, and cold symptoms AND has traveled to a country with a known outbreak OR if you have come in direct contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
- First, DO NOT panic.
- There is not a treatment for COVID-19 other than symptomatic care. There is no such thing as "catching it early" and starting antibiotics to try and prevent complications. Just trust us when we say not only does this not work, it is not good medical practice. We will see you in the office if your child has fever, with other cold symptoms.
- Your child should be seen if:
- They are a baby under 60 days old with fever of 100.4 or higher (rectal temperature)
- They have respiratory difficulties, including breathing fast, grunting, sucking in between their ribs to breath, having their nostrils flare in and out while they breathe, have wheezing or a barking cough, or feel short of breath. Respiratory difficulty DOES NOT mean trouble breathing through a congested nose.
- They are refusing liquids and seem dehydrated (dry inside of mouth and decreased urinary frequency)
- They are difficult to wake up
- Their fever lasts longer than 5 days, resolves for 24 hours then returns, or does not respond to medications with the child "perking up." The height of the fever is not as important as the response to medications - a child should be more playful, such as willing to look at books or watch a movie, after their fever is treated.
- They are crying without the ability to be calmed down
Finally, please check our website for any updates. Keep in mind that our healthcare system can handle this virus, but only if the public remains level-headed and does not rush to Urgent Care facilities and the ER with mild symptoms.
Thank you and REMEMBER TO WASH YOUR HANDS,
Your healthcare team at Cumberland Pediatrics