As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, we at SHF are very concerned about the impact of the virus on our children with cardiac health issues. We are still open for taking second opinion requests though there may be a longer response time since our medical advisory board of doctors may be busy with responding to the pandemic.
Children with cardiac health issues may be more susceptible to complications from coronavirus. It is important that they are kept safe from being exposed to anyone having the virus. The best way is to stay home and not have social interactions outside their own families for a few weeks.
Below are recommendations from Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (Stanford) in California, USA on caring for children with pre-existing health conditions.
COVID-19 and children
Q: What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?
A: Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can learn more about who is most at risk for health problems if they have COVID-19 infection on CDC’s current Risk Assessment page.
Q: What about children who have preexisting conditions and/or additional health risks?
A: At this time, in children, we are not yet sure if specific underlying medical conditions are associated with worsened disease. In older adults, certain preexisting health problems are associated with more severe cases of COVID-19.
At present, Stanford Children’s Health care teams are advising pediatric patients with existing medical conditions to follow the same guidelines that are in place for all children, including social distancing and thorough handwashing.
Parents should contact their pediatrician if their child shows signs of COVID-19, and follow their doctor’s directions on obtaining testing if appropriate. Parents of patients with subspecialty needs should call their subspecialty providers if their child is diagnosed with or being tested for COVID-19, so that their care team can advise them in real time.
Q: How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?
A: You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.
• Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)
• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
• Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 at Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus and at Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities. Additional information on how COVID-19 is spread is available at How COVID-19 Spreads.
Here are the important safety precautions from the World Health Organization (WHO) to stay safe during the pandemic:
1. Wash your hands frequently
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
2. Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
4. Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
6. Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.