The pandemic is going to be a part of our lives for a while longer, but there’s still a lot of information out there that’s confusing, contradictory or just plain wrong. We asked several of our experts to answer Colorado parents’ top questions on COVID-19. Here’s a little of what they had to say.
How does coronavirus impact babies, kids and teens?
COVID-19 generally affects kids less severely than adults, with symptoms ranging from none at all to runny nose and cough to, rarely, pneumonia requiring hospitalization. Common coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough, muscle aches, headache and tiredness. Some people also develop shortness of breath and loss of smell and taste.
In general, babies can be at a higher risk for any respiratory infection. According to the limited data available, though, cases of COVID-19 have been mild for most young children.
What should I do if my child develops symptoms?
Isolate at home and contact your primary care provider to see if coronavirus testing is appropriate. If you were in close contact with someone who develops COVID-19, you should stay in your home (also called quarantine) for 14 days after your last exposure to the infected person.
What type of COVID-19 test is best?
Though there are several types of COVID-19 tests now available, such as rapid tests or saliva tests, each varies in accuracy and ability to detect negative and positive results. Some tests are faster, but they are also more likely to miss the virus. This can create a false negative, meaning the person has the virus but received an incorrect result.
A viral test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is considered the best method or “gold standard” for detecting an active COVID-19 infection. If your child receives a positive PCR test, it means your child has an active COVID-19 infection and can spread the virus to others.
Should I be concerned about the reports of myocarditis and COVID-19 in young athletes?
In recent months, several news stories have focused on athletes who developed myocarditis, or swelling of the heart muscle, after getting sick with COVID-19. The CDC reports that severe heart damage has occurred in some young, healthy people that had the virus, but it has been rare. We do not yet know how these events may be related, and many experts are studying this issue.
Children’s Colorado and others have issued cardiac screening guidelines for children and adolescents returning to play after a COVID-19 infection. While some pediatricians believe these guidelines are overly cautious, many pediatric cardiologists, including experts in our Heart Institute, recommend remaining cautious until we know more. If you have questions about your child’s health and whether they may need to be screened, please call their primary care doctor for advice.
How close are we to a vaccine?
The news that several vaccine trials are underway and that we can expect the initial data (and maybe even an initial vaccine) in 2020 is promising. However, it will take time to ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective for all groups. Additional trials will be necessary, including trials that include children.
Also remember that even when an effective vaccine becomes available, it will take time to vaccinate millions of people. We’ll need to begin by distributing the vaccine to people who are more likely to be exposed to the coronavirus – like healthcare workers – and those who are more likely to become severely ill with COVID-19 – like the elderly. It’s up to each state to propose how they will distribute the vaccine once it becomes more widely available.
It will likely take many more months before the general population, including healthy kids, can be vaccinated against COVID-19. Preventive measures like handwashing and social distancing will remain crucial for these reasons.
What should I do about the increasing cases in Colorado?
According to projections by experts at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado School of Public Health, in some counties, including Denver, the probability of encountering an infected person is higher than it was at any point since the virus arrived in our state. State officials are again concerned about a surge in cases that could overwhelm Colorado hospitals
Now – and in the coming months – it will take all of us to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado. Please ensure that your family are taking steps to prevent the spread.
Have more questions? Read the full article, Parents’ Top Questions About Coronavirus, at childrenscolorado.org.