COVID 19 and babies: What you need to know

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It’s not known yet whether some children, such as those with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs, may be at higher risk for severe illness.

Adults have made up most of the cases of COVID-19 so far. But that doesn’t mean that kids are immune, and more stories are popping up about babies being diagnosed with the illness caused by novel coronavirus. 

Audrey Gelman, cofounder of the elite women’s coworking space The Wing, for example, recently revealed that her six-month-old son had tested positive for COVID-19. 

“He is doing OK and we are monitoring him closely,” Gelman wrote in a post that has since been removed from Instagram with a photo of herself wearing a mask and surgical gloves while holding baby Sid in what appears to be a hospital room. “Reach out to everyone in your life and tell them you love them.”

In the U.K. a one-year-old baby is thought to have the coronavirus, after his parents initially passed off his fever as being due to teething. Jess Mitchell told the Daily Mail that her son Perran’s fever worsened to the point where it felt like he was on fire. He has been lethargic and irritable and has shown little interest in eating.

ALSO SEE: COVID-19 and pregnancy: What you need to know

Doctors through the country’s National Health Service told Mitchell they suspected coronavirus and as a result the whole family is self-isolating. “As a mother it has been a horrible thing to go through,” Mitchell said. “He should bounce back, but it has still been a bit of a shock for us all.”

“People are still not understanding the severity of what we are in and you still see some being selfish,” she added, referring to those ignoring government calls to stay home and practise physical distancing. We assumed we would get it and not him. I just urge everyone to follow the guidelines. Anyone can get it – young or old.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Signs of the illness in kids include cold-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. 

Kids with confirmed cases generally present with mild symptoms. However, it’s not known yet whether some children, such as those with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs, may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs.

COVID-19 testing protocols vary from region to region, so experts say to call your local public health office or contact your healthcare provider.

ALSO SEE: Here's what experts want people under 50 to know about COVID-19

“Very young children seem to be less affected by this, but there have been case reports, a very small number of infants, who have been affected by COVID-19 and some of them severely affected,” B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a recent briefing. “If you have concerns about your child, make sure you connect with your care provider…particularly if you have had contact with somebody [who has COVID-19] or have been in an environment where COVID-19 is.

“We now have several public places where we know there’s potential exposures, so it’s really challenging,” she added. “It is a discussion that needs to be between your care provider and yourself, and as public health providers, we can facilitate testing if needed.”

People should seek urgent medical attention if their child is having difficulty breathing; is coughing excessively, particularly with a fever; or has blue lips or skin or appears very pale, according to B.C. Children’s Hospital

The same applies if a child is under three months of age and has a fever of greater than 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F). 

Immediate medical care is also advised if a child is vomiting excessively, especially if there is blood in the vomit; has diarrhea and vomiting and is not producing tears and has not urinated for several hours; or has a high fever, appears very sleepy, and has not improved with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).

ALSO SEE: COVID-19: How to know when you can stop self-isolating after symptoms

Parents and caregivers should also be reinforcing preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 with their kids: cleaning hands properly and often and staying home. 

Experts also recommend cleaning and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily at home (tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks, electronic devices). 

Along with regular washing of clothing and bedding, don’t forget to wash stuffed animals. 

“Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions,” BC Children’s Hospital says. “If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.”

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