UPDATE: COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) INFORMATION

Posted on: 05/11/2020

COVID-19 INFORMATION

While it is difficult not to panic with all the drastic changes this pandemic has brought to all of our lives, your healthcare team here at Lake Forest Pediatrics would like to share some reassuring facts with you.

Disease in children is generally mild and not unlike the other cold and flu infections you may have helped your children through in the past. Serious complications including the possibility of a post Covid multisystem inflammatory response remain rare.

In fact, to date there have been very few deaths in patients under the age of 20 in all the world data.

The prevalence of disease in our local area is low in children -about 10% of children tested at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital have been positive.

SYMPTOMS

Covid 19 is one strain in the coronavirus family. The most common symptoms of this strain are fever, body aches, chills, sore throat, with mainly LOWER respiratory symptoms – shortness of breath or cough vs UPPER respiratory symptoms of congestion or runny nose. The other coronavirus strains have been in this country for years and cause cold symptoms. This particular strain is different in that is a new (novel)one- and so no one has immunity to it. Unfortunately, it can cause severe illness in some -especially older adults.

TESTING

Testing has become more available over the past month and is available at the Lurie Children’s outpatient center in Northbrook when indicated. Please call us if your child has symptoms to discuss if testing would be appropriate. Since most cases are mild in children and having a positive test will not alter any treatment at this time, testing is not always needed.

TREATMENT

Treatment of your child is the same as for any cold or flu- keeping them hydrated and comfortable. Despite the media reports, there is no credible evidence that ibuprophen (i.e. Motrin, Advil etc.) is harmful as opposed to acetaminophen (Tylenol) and we do not suggest one over the other.

SHOULD I BRING MY CHILD INTO THE OFFICE?

If you are concerned your child has symptoms of coronavirus, bringing them into the office will not answer the question of whether they have it or not. We cannot tell by examining your child if they coronavirus or another respiratory virus. The chance of it being coronavirus is actually quite small.

In fact, bringing them in can be dangerous as it exposes other patients and our staff who may be at much higher risk for serious disease. As with any other respiratory infection we can advise you when we need them to be seen and will help you with this decision when you call for an appointment. Our great team of patient educators (our phone nurses) will help you in deciding if you need an appointment.

The main thing to do if your child develops a respiratory illness is to keep them home to avoid infecting others. Current guidelines are to assume anyone with symptoms may have coronavirus and to keep them home until at least 10 days from the beginning of their symptoms and fever free for 72 hours.

IF I NEED TO BRING MY CHILD INTO THE OFFICE IS IT SAFE TO DO SO?

We are taking numerous precautions to protect your child while visiting the office. We have split our days into well and sick segments so no well children will be in the office with ill children. Our Vernon Hills office is currently a well visit only office. We are calling each patient shortly before their appointment to assure no one is ill in any way nor been exposed to anyone with Covid-19. We are asking that only one parent and no siblings come in with the child. Our waiting areas will have adequate spacing and only screened well patients will be in the waiting areas.

Sick patients will wait in their cars until their rooms are ready and enter the office through a separate entrance. Rooms are being thoroughly wiped down. Providers will be wearing gloves, masks, gowns and googles where appropriate with ill children to prevent any spread of the virus.

We have also introduced the use of telephone and video visits for some conditions that normally would require an office visit. You will be advised if this is a possibility for your child.

WHAT ABOUT WELL VISITS?

Well visits are considered essential care and we especially do not want anyone to fall behind on their immunizations. We are seeing all ages in all of our offices with no intermingling of ill patients. Waiting rooms are for well children only – no ill patients will be in them at ANY time of day. Appointment are available 7 days a week.

WHAT ABOUT IMMUNITY TESTS?

If we knew contracting Covid-19 would give you lifelong immunity to this virus, an accurate verified test to see if you are immune would be extremely useful to us all. Unfortunately, all the tests have some false negative and false positive rates and may cross react with other strains of coronaviruses. We also do not know if these antibodies we are testing for are the ones that give you immunity and even if they do we do not know how long that immunity will last. Immunity to some of the other strains of coronavirus show immunity starting to decrease after about 4 months with no immunity remaining after several years. We also do not know what level of antibodies will give you protection-you may test positive for a low level that will not protect you.

As we learn more and verify some of these tests, they will at first be helpful when testing large numbers of people to have a rough idea how many people have been infected in a given area. Until we know a lot more, they will not helpful for a given individual and we are not recommending them.

Back to article list