What Your Doctor Wants You to Know about COVID-19

Most of us have never faced anything like this before and it can be both scary and overwhelming.  You may be very worried or you may wonder what all the fuss is about.  Either way, we want to make sure you have good information on what is going on, what you can do to keep your family healthy and what Kennesaw Pediatrics is doing to keep you safe.

What is Coronavirus?  Is it really that big of a deal?

Here’s the bottom line:  This is not the end of days.  This is also not “just the flu”.  The truth is somewhere in between and the best thing to do is take this seriously and follow health department suggestions, but don’t panic.  You need common sense and hand soap, but not an underground bunker and a month’s worth of toilet paper.  And we all need to be responsible humans.  Even if you don’t feel your family is vulnerable, remember there are grandparents, and aunties and kids with cancer who are at risk.  When you slow the spread, you protect yourself and others.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that tend to cause colds.  This type of virus is very common and you’ve probably had a cold caused by a coronavirus before. So what’s the big deal about this round of coronavirus? This particular strain causes more severe symptoms than other coronaviruses especially in certain groups such as those with underlying conditions (diabetes, heart disease and lung disease), those who smoke, and those who are over 50.  It seems to cause much milder symptoms in babies and children, who may not show any symptoms at all.

Here’s great info from the CDC on COVID and kids.
How can I keep my family safe?

The virus appears to spread by droplets that come out of someone’s mouth or nose when they cough or sneeze.  Gross, we know.  But it’s the truth.

So try to keep those droplets from getting into your respiratory tract via your eyes, mouth or nose. For real, WASH YOURS HANDS.  And, as much as you can, don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose with your hands. Why the face touching rule? Droplets can also land and live for a long time on surfaces.  When you touch those surfaces with your hands and then touch your face (or food which will go into your face), then the virus has found its way in.  So a little disinfectant wipe on those surfaces like your phone, doorknobs, etc. can’t hurt.  But mostly, please, wash your hands.

Your kids like YouTube?  Have them watch this video on handwashing.

Also, stay at home.  Schools have closed, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to substitute that with playdates or parties.  Only go out for essential activities and leave kids at home if at all possible.  Be especially careful and watchful for elderly neighbors and family members.

When you do go out, wear a mask.  If everyone over age 2 wears a mask, we all protect each other from those of us who may be carriers without symptoms.  Here is how to make your own mask.  Here are tips for helping your child wear a mask.

Should we keep our well checks?

The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends keeping well visits if possible, especially for newborns, for children getting vaccines at that visit, and for children who have an ongoing condition that is managed during their well checks.

How would I know if my child or another family member has COVID-19?
COVID-19 causes fever, cough and shortness of breath, sore throat, chills and body aches.   At this time Kennesaw Pediatrics does not have test kits.

What do I do if my child has symptoms?

Don’t panic.  Remember that most cases in children are very mild and there are other illnesses which cause similar symptoms.

Stay at home until there has been no fever (without meds) for 3 days and for 7 days after symptoms started.  This slows the spread and allows the sick child to rest.

If you feel your child needs to be seen, call before going to any health care facility.  If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and inform the dispatcher of your child’s symptoms.

Use the same good treatment measures you would for any other cold or flu:  rest, fluids, fever meds to keep comfortable, honey for a cough.   Call us to talk if over with the nurse if you need advice or are concerned about your child.  Please do not come into the office without calling ahead and speaking to the nurse.

We also have telemed visits available at this time.

What if my child was exposed to a confirmed case but does not have any symptoms?

It’s very important that you follow the guidelines given to you by the department of public health, including any restrictions on going out in public or reporting any information.  Routine doctor visits should be delayed until after any restrictions are lifted.  If your child develops symptoms, treat them at home and call us with any questions or concerns.

What is KP doing to keep my child safe whether we are at home or at the office?

  • At this time, Kennesaw Pediatrics is following CHOA’s guidelines for community physicians.
  • We will not see ANY walk-in patient until further notice. You must have an appointment to be seen.  Morning walk – in hours are now by appointment only.
  • We are completely separating sick and well kids at the Main Office and Newborn Center with physically separate entrances, reception areas, hallways, exam rooms and exits.   
  • All check in is now curbside.  When you arrive, do not leave your car.  Call us and we will check you in, then meet you at the door when you will be escorted to the exam room. 
  • We continue to use all the good cleaning protocols we have always used but with increased diligence.  Rooms are cleaned after each patient with hospital grade disinfectant.  The entire office is professionally cleaned each night.
  • When you call for any appointment we will ask you about your risk factors for COVID.
  • We will not be able to see any patient, with or without symptoms, in our office if they have had a known unprotected COVID exposure in the past 14 days.  This is to keep everyone safe and make sure that any COVID cases or exposures are treated by those who can best care for them. 
  • Everyone over age 2 will wear a mask.  We will give masks to all kids sick and well.  We’re asking all adults to wear their own mask or cloth face covering to help up conserve masks. 
  • Only one adult can escort the patient back to the exam room, no siblings.  Two adult caregivers are allowed to escort babies being seen at the Newborn Center. 
  • We are cancelling all classes, groups and tours until further notice.  We are restricting outside visitors such as deliveries, salespeople and other visitors. 

If you have any concerns, we are here for you 24-7:  please call us at any time so that we can direct you to the most appropriate care.

Here are CHOA’s guidelines for families.
When might your child need more than home care?

A newborn (under 12 weeks of age) with a fever higher than 100.4

Trouble breathing – breathing fast for more than a few seconds, nostrils flaring, sucking in the stomach under their ribs with each breath, wheezing, losing breath when coughing, grunting with breathing.  This means trouble getting air into the lungs, not just a stopped up nose.

Persistent vomiting and belly pain.

Big behavior changes – not eating, not drinking, not waking up as easily as usual, crying non stop.  There should be at least 3 wet diapers or 3 trips to the toilet each day.

Remember fever is just one symptom and how it fits into the other symptoms is more important that how high the fever alone is. So a low fever in a child that is not acting right is more worrisome than a child with a high fever who is eating and alert.  In any case give us a call if the fever last more than 3 days.  Check out our KP suggestions for managing a fever here.

We know many parents are scared, and many are feeling overwhelmed with constant news coverage and school closures.  No matter what, we’re here for you and will be doing our best to keep you child safe and healthy and to keep our office a safe and healthy place for you to bring your child.