COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family we want to give you a reminder to make sure and practice social distancing, frequent hand washing, and mask up for a fun and safe Halloween.
As we move forward into November and December, chances are no matter how careful you are, your kids at some point start having cold and flu symptoms. These days that sets off extra alarm bells with the COVID-19 pandemic going on.
If your child becomes symptomatic, Dr. Sara Saporta-Keating, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs says, your first move should be to pick up the phone. “You should call your pediatrician. Most offices have some sort of call line or sick line to ask questions or advice. Children's hospital also has a sick line so parents can call that line as well to ask for advice from a nurse but most of the time that is the best first step.”
It’s also very important that a flu shot is a priority this year. “The flu vaccine is really important every year. It helps decrease the number of kids who would be hospitalized from flu related symptoms or complications. In some people we think it does help prevent the flu and in others who do get the flu the symptoms are less severe.”
Dr. Saporta-Keating says If your child becomes symptomatic, your first move should be to pick up the phone. “You should call your pediatrician. Most offices have some sort of call line or sick line to ask questions or advice. Children's Hospital Colorado also has a sick line so parents can call that line as well to ask for advice from a nurse but most of the time that is the best first step.”
Dr. Saporta-Keating says the one symptom you should always act on is if your child is having trouble breathing. “If a parent is really concerned about the amount of work that a child is having breathing, then by all means you should call 911 or bring them into the emergency room. Certainly starting with your pediatrician is a good idea if you think your child is doing well enough while you spend a few minutes chatting on the phone about what to do.”
If the thought of going to the doctor's office to get a flu shot, or going to the emergency room right now because of COVID, Dr. Saporta-Keating says, “The pediatrician's office is a very safe place to go. Most offices are doing well visits separate from sick visits. Half the day is for well visits and half the day is for sick visits. They are all using very good precautions in terms of their own personal protective equipment, masks, and hygiene, so the pediatrician's office is actually a very safe place to go and so is the hospital.”
As for the question of how can you tell if your child has COVID or influenza, Dr. Saporta-Keting says, “Testing is very important in being able to differentiate, in fact that's one of the few ways that we can differentiate COVID from the flu. There are some limitations to that - in terms of when you get tested for COVID and how you get tested for COVID.
Statewide: Children’s Hospital Colorado Free ParentSmart HealthlineTM - Pediatric nurses are available 24/7 to help answer your health questions.