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Your Healthy Family: Caring for kids with chronic illness through coronavirus precautions

Posted at 10:33 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 12:33:20-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family we're highlighting a conversation between Dr. David Brumbaugh, MD and Associate Chief Medical Officer with Children’s Hospital Colorado and Dr. Sam Dominguez, MD an infectious disease specialist, Children's Hospital Colorado.

The topic of the conversation was what families with children who are battling chronic health issues should be doing as our society focuses on reducing the spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Sam Dominguez says, “Children who would fall in that category [of being high risk] if they do have underlying chronic medical conditions, or if they are imunocompromised. First, I would say all those patients and their families right now should start practicing good social distancing measures. You should not be going out to movie theaters or not going places where there is a large gathering of people and that's really just to protect yourself.”

Dr. Dominguez says, if you have a healthy child who becomes sick, you shouldn’t just rush into the emergency department or your doctors office. “If your kid is only mildly ill, and they don't need to be seen - remember if they come to the E.R. we have lots of sick kids in our emergency department. We want to keep those [kids] who don't need to be there, out of there. So if your child is just mildly ill, that's a phone call to your provider or your specialist to talk it over with them and make sure they agree that you're safe to be at home. For most kids that will be the case.”

Dr. Dominguez also emphasizes following the basic guidelines of personal hygiene and prevention will go a long way to navigating this current situation. “We are going to be okay, it's not time for panic or fear. It's a time for doing the right things, for listening to our public health colleagues and experts and what they are advising us to do. We need to work together as individuals and families, as communities and states, and as a nation.”

Children's Hospital Colorado has many resources on-line on this topic including:

*A recent Charting Pediatrics [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] podcast on COVID-19, including travel Q&A with an epidemiologist

Top Questions About COVID-19 for Parents [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]

  • A curious 9-year-old asks questions to an infectious diseases doctor and a child psychologist
  • Dr. Dominguez provides updates on current epidemiology and mitigation strategies

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

COVID-19 questions, call:

  • For information about COVID-19 and potential exposure information, call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 for answers in multiple languages.
  • If you are concerned that your child is sick and has been exposed to COVID-19, please contact your child’s doctor or call the Children’s Hospital Colorado COVID-19 hotline at 720-777-2221.

Testing:

  • Children’s Hospital Colorado currently is not a public testing center. We are working with the state to expand testing locations. Link to Colorado testing locations. [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado is providing care for the sickest kids in our region, and currently only testing children who meet inpatient admission criteria and need to be hospitalized. This will allow us to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and help with bed placement, appropriate isolation and potential treatments.

If you need medical care:

  • Please do NOT come to a Children's Hospital Colorado emergency or urgent care locations unless you are experiencing a medical emergency or are directed to go there by a doctor. This will help limit the spread of illness in our community, as well as allow our emergency departments to care for patients with the most critical needs first.
  • If you need to seek medical attention, do not go inside unannounced into a doctor’s office, emergency department, hospital or medical facility since COVID-19 is highly contagious. When you call the doctor’s office, they will give you information on how to proceed in order to protect other patients and visitors.
  • In order to keep our patients, families and staff safe, Children’s Hospital Colorado has implemented additional visitation restrictions and illness screenings.
    • Each hospitalized patient family can identify up to four caregivers, over the age of 18, who will be allowed to visit. Only two visitors (including parents/guardians) can visit at one time.
    • For an emergency department visit, we ask that parents try not to bring other family members. Limiting visitors is an important way we can limit the spread of illness and keep everyone safe.
    • In the coming days and weeks, families who must seek medical attention may see our doctors and nurses wearing different types of masks and protection equipment. For example, some of the masks fit over the head and almost look like an astronaut helmet. Our staff can provide the same level of care to children while wearing this important protective equipment, which helps keep kids and our staff safe.


How you can help:

  • Donate funds for toys/games: We’re taking every precaution to protect patients from COVID-19 and sadly had to close the playrooms on each floor. Now that more patients are on isolation and can't play with shared games or toys, we want to donate one toy/game a day to each patient on isolation. Support Children’s Colorado with a monetary “playroom” donation [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] to help us purchase new toys/games that can provide distraction, as well as a sense of normalcy, for our young patients.
    • Donate to Children’s Colorado: With COVID-19 in the daily news, it is especially important that we remember there are many kids in our community who are depending on critical care today for ongoing illnesses and injuries. From fixing broken bones to treating pediatric cancer, your support [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] allows us to continue to serve the kids and families who depend on us every day.