Concern about the spread of coronavirus continues to grow. Fortunately, children are less likely to become ill than adults if infected with the virus. As the story unfolds, Forest Hills Pediatrics will continue to keep you updated with the latest recommendations.
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus was first identified in the 1960s, and strains circulate every year that cause typical symptoms of a mild cold. COVID-19 is a new form of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. 90% of cases have presented with early symptom of high fever, and 70% with a dry cough.
Is my child at risk?
Children may contract COVID-19, and present with symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. However, for reasons yet unclear, the virus has not impacted children as severely as adults. Children typically have milder courses of illness or may even be asymptomatic.
What if my child has special needs, such as asthma or congenital heart disease?
Experts are recommending you take the same precautions you would for influenza or any other highly contagious respiratory illness.
How do I help my child during the pandemic?
During this unprecedented time of school and work closures there are many questions about how to best care for our children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has put together resources on Positive Parenting & COVID19 and Working and Learning From Home During the COVID19 Outbreak.
What is Forest Hills Pediatrics doing differently now that COVID-19 is in Michigan?
We are using separate entrances and areas of our building to see sick and well patients. To help avoid spread of disease, it is our goal to keep as many patients as possible who are ill with fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms out of our office. Our usual walk-in clinic is closed at this time, and we are asking you to call our office in the morning so that we can triage your child. Please only bring your child to a well visit if they are truly well (please call us first if they are having fever or cough). Please have one healthy adult accompany your child, and no siblings.
We do have virtual visits available and plan to utilize them as much as possible so that we can continue to care for your family while minimizing potential exposures. You can call to schedule a virtual visit, or be seen during our "walk-in" hours.
The spread and extent of disease remains unknown as yet, so our office policies may be changing over time as things progress. We are grateful for your patience during this time, and will do our best to keep you posted with any and all changes.
Is there really reason to worry? Isn't COVID-19 no worse than the flu?
COVID-19 is a novel virus, so much remains unknown as to the course it will take over time. However, we do know that many people (mostly older adults and those with medical conditions) have become ill quicky and required ICU care. When the number of patients requiring ICU care to survive exceeds the amount of ICU beds/equipment available, the mortality rate increases significantly. Other countries with fast spread of COVID-19 have had to make tough decisions about which patients to save and which patients would not receive further care. The goal of social distancing and quarantine is to slow the spread of the virus so that we do not overwhelm our healthcare system. While young healthy people are at very low risk of death from having COVID-19, if they continue their lives as usual, they risk infecting many in the vulnerable population who will suffer the consequences.
Should I send my child to school while COVID -19 is in the community?
This is a very difficult question to answer and the conclusion will not be the same for everyone. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly encourages in person education whenever it can be done safely but COVID activity and personal health risks need to be taken into consideration. The cdc has published a back-to-school tool to try to help families sort through the various issues. If your child is in a high risk category (chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, immunocompromised state, obesity, serious heart condition, sickle cell disease, type-2 diabetes, cancer), or you would like to talk with your primary care physician about the risk and benefits, please call our office to schedule a virtual visit.
How can I get tested for COVID-19?
There are 2 types of test for COVID-19, a nasal swab to detect if you currently have the virus and an antibody test to tell if you had the virus in the past.
At this time, Michigan’s testing capability is expanding. If your child has symptoms concerning for the Corona virus, please read through the symptom checker advice. If you feel your child needs to be seen, or if daycare/camp/school/work requires a test, please use our virtual walk-in or call the office for an appointment with one of our providers. We can arrange to have your child tested at FHPA if necessary. For more details on testing after an expsoure, click here.
If your child has no symptoms but needs a test for daycare/camp/school, please call us during our regular business hours or send us a portal message. We can order the test through Spectrum and then you can go to anyone of Spectrum’s walk-in nares testing centers. Please be aware that we only respond to portal messages Monday through Friday 8AM - 4:30PM.
The anti-body test does not detect active infection. And at this time it is not known if you have the antibody that you are protected from a repeat infection. Because of the unknown, we are not currently recommending the antibody test. However, if you have questions about the anti-body test we are happy to arrange for a telehealth visit to discuss further.
So what should I do if I think I or a family member has COVID?
If symptoms are mild to moderate, stay home. This is the best thing you can do not only for you or your child's health, but for vulnerable members of the population you might come into contact with. Keeping those with mild to moderate illness out of doctor's offices and emergency rooms is our goal. But how long do you need to stay home? It is recommended you stay home until symptoms have resolved. The length you need to stay home will differ based on your symptoms. The 14-day quarantine period is for those with known exposure to COVID-19, but are not sick.