At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, we’ve put extra precautions in place for your safety. Whether you have an appointment or need to visit us for emergency care, we’re working hard to keep your family safe.
This tool is meant to help parents answer two questions:
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that commonly affect animals but sometimes infect humans too. They usually attack the upper respiratory tract—nose, sinuses and throat. A coronavirus gets its name from the crown-like spikes on its surface, visible under a microscope (“corona” means crown in Latin). Some types of coronavirus cause mild symptoms like the common cold, while others, like SARS or MERS, are more dangerous.
Scientists are still learning about this new coronavirus that causes a disease known as COVID-19. Called “novel” because it's never been seen before, it is thought to have originated at an animal market in Wuhan, China.
Reported symptoms of COVID-19 have ranged from very mild to severe and even fatal. Most COVID-19 infections in healthy children are mild and do not require hospital care.
Signs of COVID-19 can include:
Most children with COVID-19 infections have mild symptoms and do not require hospital care. If your child has concerning symptoms, call your doctor or pediatrician to discuss next steps before going to a hospital, Emergency Department or urgent care. We need to direct your arrival into our facility to avoid exposures.
If your child is in respiratory distress, call 911 or bring them to the closest emergency room.
If your child is exposed to someone who has COVID-19, he should avoid others for 14 days, or until he is cleared by his pediatrician. This means your child should stay at home unless he needs medical care. He may walk with you in secluded areas away from people or play in the backyard; however, your child should always avoid being around others who do not live in your home. If possible, also avoid anyone over the age of 60 or anyone who has a serious underlying medical condition.
In addition, monitor your child closely for a fever or cough. If either of these develops, use our COVID-19 Pediatric Assessment Tool for next steps.
Like the cold or flu, COVID-19 usually spreads from close person-to-person contact—about six feet—through respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes. The virus may also spread when droplets land on surfaces that people touch.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best way to avoid infection is to avoid exposure. It is always a good idea to keep your guard up—and not just against this virus. “While the novel coronavirus is concerning, it is important to remember that seasonal flu is responsible for millions of infections and thousands of deaths in adults and children each year. The flu can be prevented by getting a vaccine each year, and remember, it's never too late to get a flu shot,” says Andrea Shane, MD, MPH, System Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Here are other simple steps you can take to lower your risk of catching or spreading illness.
Families are encouraged to plan and make decisions that will help protect members of your household during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recommend your family:
*Older adults and anyone with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease or diabetes are at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19. They should seek care as soon as symptoms start.
Caring for someone who has COVID-19 in your home can help stop the spread of the virus and protect those who are at risk for developing serious symptoms from COVID-19. We recommend:
Social distancing is a practice to help stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease like COVID-19. It is a way to deliberately increase the physical space between people to help avoid spreading illness, as staying at least 6 feet away from others can help lessen your chance of catching the virus.
According to the CDC, and in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, they recommend that for the next eight weeks, organizers-- whether groups or individuals-- cancel or postpone in-person events, such as sports events, large work meetings, religious gatherings, cruises or festivals, that consist of 50 or more people across the United States.
Other examples of social distancing may include:
The term social distancing is critical for us in helping take on COVID-19 as a disease that’s impacting our community. The newer term we want to think about is physical distancing. We want to encourage socializing with your child through FaceTime or the computer with friends or family so that you maintain those connections, but what it is key is avoiding direct contact with large groups of family or friends. We are encouraging staying away from community playgrounds and focusing on playing together in your backyard.
For those who plan to travel, the CDC offers specific guidance about avoiding COVID-19. It is best to postpone nonessential travel, particularly to countries where access to medical care may be limited or is prohibited by the CDC. For immediate household contacts, consider postponing nonessential travel to high-risk areas and discuss this with their healthcare provider.
As public health agencies closely monitor the outbreak, know that Children’s is ready to support the diagnosis and management of children in the event a child presents with a known or suspected COVID-19 infection.
Children's has the appropriate personal protective equipment, plans for location management and a team of staff trained to care for children who may have infections with special pathogens—such as suspected COVID-19 infections—should they require clinical care.
We continue to evaluate children who have exhibited inflammatory symptoms characterized as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a condition in which the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or GI organs become inflamed. Learn more about MIS-C here.
We've had several people reach out and ask how they can support Children's during this unprecedented time. Our team has put together a list of seven easy ways you can help us right now, and right from your own home. Check out the list, which includes everything from our COVID-19 needs to ways you can send our patients smiles.
This content is general information and is not specific medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the health of a child. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away. Some physicians and affiliated healthcare professionals on Children's Healthcare of Atlanta team are independent providers and are not our employees.