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 affect 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. COVID-19 is also called the “novel” coronavirus because this particular strain has never been seen before
Reported symptoms of COVID-19 have ranged from very mild to severe and even fatal. Most COVID-19 infections in healthy children are mild or have no symptoms at all and do not require hospital care.
Signs of COVID-19 can include:
Most children with COVID-19 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.
If your child is having difficulty breathing, call 911.
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 avoid being around others who do not live in your home.
In addition, monitor your child closely for symptoms of COVID-19. If any of these develop, use our Pediatric Assessment Tool for next steps.
Children's is performing COVID-19 testing for patients who are:
Alternatively, your child may be tested outside of Children's at one of the following alternative COVID-19 testing locations. Note: Children's provides these testing sites for your convenience, not as an endorsement or recommendation. Children's has not validated the type of test performed at each site.
Like a cold or the flu, COVID-19 usually spreads from close person-to-person contact—about 6 feet—through large respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes. Smaller droplets may linger in the air for some time in confined spaces and also spread COVID-19. The virus may also spread when droplets land on surfaces that people touch.
There is currently no available 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 the 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.
Other examples of social distancing may include:
For families who are thinking of traveling go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ for specific guidance from the CDC. It is best to postpone all non-essential travel.
Individual schools or childcare facilities should work with their local public health agencies to determine the need for closures. Public health recommendations for school closures would be based on many factors, such as the amount of disease transmission in a particular community and the severity of illness.
If your child is sick, please do not send them to school.
To disinfect, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
Options include diluting your household bleach.
Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens pdf icon [7 pages] external icon claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
Visit the CDC’s website for further instructions on cleaning and disinfecting.
It can be very difficult to tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu. The flu presents with fever and cough OR fever and sore throat. COVID-19 can have these symptoms as well. The biggest difference between COVID-19 and the flu is that with COVID-19 there is often a loss of taste and smell. The key is to focus on the severity of the symptoms to determine the need for medical 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.
mRNA vaccines have been developed using technology that has been around for almost 20 years. Scientists have tried to use the technology to make vaccines against a number of infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines mimic an infection in our bodies that makes them make an immune response—not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if we are exposed to the real or “wild-type” virus. mRNA vaccines do not affect or interact with our own DNA. The message from mRNA vaccines is short-lived and disappears after our immune system responds. Read more on the CDC website.
The technology for mRNA vaccines has been around for almost two decades. Once the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus became known in early January 2020, scientists around the world began work on vaccine development. Unlike most other vaccines that require a bacteria or virus to be cultured (grown in the laboratory), mRNA vaccines are less difficult and time-consuming to develop.
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.