COVID-19 (Corona Virus 2019) is now in Arkansas! Don’t Panic! We are here to help!
Although, we at All For Kids have no direct experience with the Corona virus at this time, research shows that infection with the COVID-19 (coronavirus 2019) is generally not serious in most children. We pray that this continues to be true in Arkansas! Specifically, worldwide at this time, we are aware are no reports of death from the infection in children less than 9 years of age. This information should give parents some immediate relief of their COVID-19 anxiety! Most all teenagers and young adults have mild illnesses as well, although rarely severe illnesses have happened.
For older Americans, there is some cause for concern because of the reports of severe disease in a small portion of people that catch it. As the virus has spread across the world, we find that most people come down with a mild illness that resembles the flu, a few get very sick requiring hospitalization, a smaller number are critically ill and some people have died. Most deaths have occurred in older individuals with health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and immune defects. No deaths are reported in young children.
Symptoms of COVID-19 infection
Illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days (5 days on average) after exposure:
• Fever, usually high
• Cough, dry
• Shortness of breath
Most people with coronavirus infection do not have a runny nose. They feel a lot like a person feels with the flu: High fever, fatigue, and a dry cough but without a runny nose. Some people may get diarrhea from the illness.
How is COVID-19 spread (CDC website)
1. The virus is thought to spread from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, some studies suggest 13 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It is particularly contagious when someone makes an aerosol of the virus (big cough or sneeze, surgical and dental procedures or respiratory treatments and tests).
2. Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick? Yes, this is possibly true especially with children who may be contagious for the virus and yet have no symptoms. People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest, however.
Description of Coronaviruses
Although most parents don’t know it, most everyone has had coronavirus infection in the past. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can infect humans and animals. There are seven known types of human coronaviruses. Four of the seven types (229E, NL63, OC43, and KHU1) are quite common and cause what amounts to the common cold. Rarely, they make people sick enough to be hospitalized. In certain times of the year these four types of usual coronaviruses can cause up to 33% of the respiratory infections in our population. The other 67% of colds are caused by other common respiratory virus pathogens which include rhinovirus, Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and Enterovirus, just to name a few. Two types of coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), may cause more severe respiratory infections. They are more recent coronaviruses which have appeared. The seventh type (COVID-19) is a newly discovered coronavirus (COVID-19), which was first reported in Wuhan, China in December, 2019. Where did the three most recent coronaviruses come from? Short answer: it is thought from animals. This is a disease category called zoonosis. Some coronaviruses that infect only animals and not humans may evolve and change their genetic makeup. It is currently thought that the three recent examples of coronaviruses that may make humans more ill may have undergone this recent evolution. These are: COVID-19, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV. So, we now have COVID-19: a new, probably mutated animal coronavirus infecting humans!
How to protect your family
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but there are a few things you can do to keep your family healthy:
- When in public spaces, always view your hands as contaminated unless you have just washed them or put hand sanitizer on them. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. Look for one that is at least 60% or higher alcohol based. Once you have washed or used hand sanitizer then you can touch your face or eat something.
- Avoid touching your face unless you have just washed your hands or used hand sanitizer; teach your children to do the same.
- Keep your kids away from others who are sick and keep them home if they are ill.
- If you are ill, don’t go to work and stay away from others.
- Teach kids to cough and sneeze into a tissue (make sure to throw it away after each use!) or to cough and sneeze into their arm or elbow, not their hands.
- Clean and disinfect your home using regular household cleaning sprays or wipes.
- Wear a mask in public places
- Avoid travel
- Stay home!
What to do if you are worried that your child has Coronavirus infection?
• Call us! 501-224-5437. Please do not come to our office if you are concerned that your child has coronavirus! You might expose others to the disease. We do not have coronavirus test kits and currently there is no outpatient treatment for coronavirus infection other than fever control and fluids which you can do at home. For severe cases of coronavirus infection, hospitalization is necessary for respiratory support. If your child needs to be tested, we will arrange for your child to be tested at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Protocols, protective equipment and infectious disease specialists are ready. Self-quarantine until you have heard the results.
Here are some helpful links about COVID-19:
For a more robust scientific explanation of COVID-19:
written by Jerry Byrum MD 4/16/2020