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Taking care of a child when COVID-19 hits home: A guide for families

Taking care of a child when COVID-19 hits home: A guide for families
Written by Publishing Team

The Philippine Pediatric Society Is Releasing Guide To Help Parents Navigate Child Care In An Era Of COVID-19. Here are some of their tips.

MANILA, Philippines – Caring for a child can be quite difficult, especially for new parents. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this more difficult, as families must navigate health protocols to prevent infection and the spread of the virus.

The spread of the Omicron variant has brought additional fear and worry to families. The current outbreak has pushed the number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 3 million on Tuesday, January 11. It is more and more difficult to control the transmission.

With this, the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) released “A Parent’s Guide on COVID-19 Infection in Children” to help answer burning questions from parents about managing the threat of the virus with their children.

“About 12% of COVID-19 cases are seen in the pediatric age group. Although the majority of cases are mild, the anxiety experienced by parents is not reduced by this fact, ”said PPS President Joselyn Eusebio.

Eusebio added that the organization will update the guide every two to three months to “incorporate the latest data and recommendations on COVID-19”.

Here are some of their tips.

Prevention

Although wearing a mask has become essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the PPS advises against wearing face masks for the following cases:

  • Children under 2 years of age, due to the risk of suffocation
  • Children with breathing difficulties when wearing a mask
  • Children with cognitive impairment
  • If wearing masks causes the child to touch his or her face more frequently

Parents should also teach their children proper etiquette for coughing and sneezing by covering their nose and mouth with a tissue or the top of their arms, as well as frequently washing their hands with water. 70% alcohol or soap and water.

“Those who are within 6 feet of [a COVID-19] infected person is likely to catch the virus if these virus particles land on their eyes, nose or mouth. These particles can also land on objects, and when infants and children touch them and then rub their eyes, nose or mouth, they can become infected, ”according to the guide.

Many parents would also tend to sterilize items using ultraviolet (UV) light to kill bacteria and viruses. However, PPS advises against the use of these sterilizers as they are only recommended in healthcare facilities.

PPS said direct UV exposure could increase cancer risk and generate ozone, which could irritate the airways.

The organization also adds that while taking vitamins may help improve overall health, these have not been proven to be preventative or therapeutic against COVID-19. Instead, they suggest boosting immunity through proper nutrition to reduce the risk and severity of infection.

As children enjoy their leisure time and play time, PPS also suggests that children should only be outside for walks or play in the yard.

“However, it is not advisable to invite neighborhood children to play. Avoid crowded places, ”the guide said.

Caring for Children with COVID-19

With the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country, the PPS recommends home care if the child is diagnosed with a mild infection with the following symptoms:

  • Fever less than or equal to 38 ° C
  • Cough
  • Colds
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Decreased appetite

They also recommend home isolation if children have flu-like symptoms or have been exposed to a confirmed patient, even without any test results, to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.

Children with mild symptoms can stop home isolation 10 days after symptom onset, including 3 days after clinically recovering and asymptomatic.

Parents should do the following while monitoring their child’s condition:

  • Take note of:
    • Temperature every 4 hours
    • Oxygen level every 6 hours using a pulse oximeter
      • If it is not available, watch for changes in the patient’s breathing pattern.
    • Frequency, volume and color of your child’s urine / urination.
  • Encourage your child to rest.
  • Keep your child hydrated.
  • Use fever medicine if your child has a fever.
  • Give age-appropriate healthy foods and offer foods that are soft, varied, easy to chew and swallow.
  • Continue breastfeeding, if appropriate.

What if your child’s condition worsens? Call your pediatrician if you see any of these symptoms:

  • Persistent fever or fever of 38.1 ° C and above
  • Refuse to eat or drink
  • Pain in the ear or with fluid coming out of the ear
  • Runny or stuffy nose for 2 weeks or more
  • Bad cough or chest pain
  • Persistent headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing problems
  • Abdominal pain

Parents should also immediately take the child to the emergency room if they see these signs:

  • Seems dehydrated (for example: dizziness, dry or sticky mouth, sunken eyes, crying with little or no tears, less frequent peeing, or fewer wet diapers)
  • Unable to drink or speak
  • Confused or drowsy
  • Difficulty breathing, breathing fast, or looking pale or blue around the lips
  • Oxygen levels below 95%, if using a pulse oximeter

Breastfeeding has become an important factor in the early development of a baby. The PPS has said that breastfeeding will not lead to the spread of COVID-19 from mother to child.

Breastfeeding

However, mothers who have recently given birth or are suspected of having COVID-19 are advised to do the following:

  • Initiate or continue breastfeeding
  • Stay with baby during the roommate
  • Practice skin-to-skin contact, especially immediately after birth and during the initiation of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Wash hands before breastfeeding
  • Always wear a mask

People with confirmed COVID-19 who choose to continue releasing or expressing breast milk should do the following:

  • Use your own breast pump, if possible.
  • Wear a mask while breast milk is expressed.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching parts of the pump or bottle and before expressing breast milk.
  • Clean the pump properly after each use.
  • Store milk safely.
  • If a caregiver gives the baby expressed breast milk, choose a healthy, immunized caregiver who should wear a mask when caring for the baby.

Being a parent during COVID-19 can be difficult. But with the right protocols in place, as recommended by PPS and other experts, you can protect your children from the virus.

Check out the full guide to PPS below:

For more information on what to do if you or your loved ones test positive for COVID-19, you can check out this guide. – Rappler.com

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