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Jefferson Health

Home of Sidney Kimmel Medical College

A Parent’s Guide to Coronavirus

Here's what you need to know to protect your family.

Parents are increasingly on edge as the Coronavirus (COVID – 19) continues to spread across the globe. With the increasing number of confirmed cases, COVID-19 is making its mark on thousands of families. Dr. Steven Shapiro the Chair of the Pediatrics Department at Abington – Jefferson Health, shared the latest on what parents should expect when the virus hits local communities.

It is important to note that COVID-19 is an emerging illness that devoted professionals are actively researching to collect new information. All information presented in this article is what is known to date.

Do children have a lower risk of getting COVID-19?
Children do not have a lower risk of getting COVID-19. They may present milder symptoms or no symptoms at all, but children do have the same level of risk to become infected with the virus.

Do symptoms of COVID-19 differ in children compared to adults?
No, children who become infected with COVID-19 will experience the same symptoms that anyone exposed to COVID-19 would. It is nothing out of the ordinary: a cough, sneeze or runny nose. Although, studies to date show that symptoms are milder in children than in adults.

What is a child’s role in spreading the virus?
To decrease the risk of spreading the virus to others, parents must teach their children the necessary precautions:

  • Cover their coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wipe down their desks, phones, and other surfaces.

Schools have been advised to organize more janitorial support as an additional precaution.

Should parents be more concerned about the flu?
Absolutely yes. The morbidity rate and prevalence of the flu are much more established than that of COVID-19.

The Expert’s Advice:
Do not send your children to school if they are sick. While children are not terribly symptomatic from this illness, keep them home if they present any symptoms to help contain the spread to others.

Avoid traveling internationally at all costs, with or without children. If you are looking to travel internationally soon, there are three things to consider beforehand:

  1. Once you leave the United States, you can be quarantined in the country you are visiting.
  2. If you do get sick, you will have to abide by that country’s medical policies and practices.
  3. The United States may not allow you to re-enter the country because you could be a potential carrier.

If your child is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, make sure to call your pediatrician to discuss your child’s symptoms.  To help contain the spread of the virus to others, your pediatrician will communicate the appropriate next steps for your child via telephone.

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COVID-19, From the Experts