Coronaviruses have been around for a long time and are a family of viruses that typically cause mild colds. We see them often but do not test for them, and there are more in the fall and winter. This new coronavirus that’s circulating is one that has not been detected in the past and the first cases are now common across the world and becoming more frequent in the United States, including several states surrounding Arkansas and now one person testing presumptive positive in Arkansas. People can be contagious with the new coronavirus, named “SARS-CoV-2”, before they have symptoms, and some people don’t develop any symptoms at all.
Children and teens seem to have mild if any symptoms from this new virus. There have been no pediatric deaths reported so far, anywhere.
The illness caused by this new virus is called “COVID-19”, causing fever, body aches, dry cough, and sometimes shortness of breath. Like other viruses, there is no treatment besides symptomatic care — Tylenol and Motrin, honey for coughs in kids older than 1 year, cool-mist humidifiers and suctioning for babies, extra fluids. Like other viruses such as flu, it can be more dangerous for the elderly and those with other chronic health conditions.
The spread of COVID-19 seems to happen easily in more crowded conditions. Do not go to the ER or take your child to the ER or Urgent Care if you or your child has mild cold symptoms–these symptoms may be treated at home. We do not need to see your child in our office for these kinds of symptoms, and traveling outside of your home will make this outbreak worse for all of us. Follow the usual guidelines for returning to work or school — no fever for 24 hours, no persistent coughing, and back to school when your child feels well enough to be in class.
**We do NOT have a test for COVID-19 in our office. So unless symptoms are severe, we urge you to not come in and not call for an appointment.**
If testing is felt necessary then this can be done with coordination through health department or UAMS.
Your child SHOULD be seen for these sorts of symptoms:
* any fever (>100.4F) in a baby under 60 days
* respiratory distress, including a barking cough or increased work of breathing
* sore throat in the absence of cold symptoms
* ear pain for more than 2 days in kids older than 2y, or in conjunction with fever in kids younger than 2y
We are going to see a big increase in the number of people testing positive as more people will be tested now with testing becoming more available to states. The media is causing more fear than is necessary. ‘Social distancing’ is going to help slow the progression of his virus as well as the usual disease prevention measures:
*Wash or sanitize your hands often! Especially when out in public places.
*Try not to touch your face, especially in public, and especially without washing or sanitizing your hands first.
**Do NOT wear a mask unless you yourself are ill, or you yourself are in a room with someone who is ill.
Please stay home if you’re ill, and keep your children home if they’re ill.
*Cover your cough or sneeze with you elbow or a tissue and teach your children that are old enough to comply the same habit.
Even as important–do not panic and talk about this with your children in a calm manner. Many children will become fearful if they see their parent being afraid.
The best information will be from the CDC or WHO website and not social media. UAMS has free online screening which can be found here: