COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) INFORMATION

Posted on: 03/23/2020

While it is difficult not to panic with all the drastic changes this pandemic has brought to all of our lives, your care 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. In fact, to date there have been no deaths in patients under the age of 10 and only one between ages 10 and 20 in all the world data. The prevalence in our local area is low in children. Out of all the children tested at Lurie Children’s Hospital thus far only 3 have tested positive.

SYMPTOMS

COVID-19 is one strain in the coronavirus family. The most common symptoms of this strain are fever, body aches, 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

While the lack of available testing is frustrating in terms of following the epidemiology of this outbreak, the lack of testing has no impact on any individual patient. Like a cold, there is no available prescription therapies so knowing your child has it will not affect how we care for them or alter the symptoms that they have. In fact, heading out for a test may increase the transmission of the virus to others or increase the chance your child will be exposed.

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 ibuprofen (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?

We are not testing for COVID-19.

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 have 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 than an otherwise healthy child. 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 7 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 will also be having well visits only as of March 30, 2020. Everyone will be placed into an exam room right away so there will be no exposures to multiple people in the waiting room. If a room is not available, you may be asked to wait in your car, and we will contact you when your room is available. 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 will continue to provide well child care to children requiring vaccines. We don’t want any children to fall behind on their immunization schedule so have provided these precautions to avoid illness exposures.

We will also during this unusual time temporarily introduce 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.

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