FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19

Updated: 3/15/2020

WE KNOW EVERYONE IS OVERWHELMED WITH ALL OF THE NEWS ABOUT COVID-19.  PIEDMONT PEDIATRICS WANTS TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR FAMILIES ARE INFORMED AND PREPARED, BUT NOT PANICKED.  HERE ARE SOME ANSWERS (AS OF NOW) FOR SOME OF YOUR FAQS.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CORONAVIRUS AND COVID-19?

There are several coronaviruses, many cause the common cold, but others can cause more serious illnesses.  COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, meaning that it is a new virus, and doctors are still learning about its spread and effects.

WHAT ARE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?  WHAT ABOUT IN CHILDREN?

The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  In children, symptoms are usually only mild, and most children will not require medical care. However, as with any virus, children are contagious to others, like the elderly, chronically ill, and immunocompromised, who are at risk for much more severe complications from the virus.

WHAT DO I DO IF MY CHILD IS ILL WITH A FEVER AND COUGH?

If your child has a mild fever and cough without any difficulty breathing, treat your child from home, managing symptoms and monitoring her for any worsening of symptoms. Please keep your child at home, and isolated from any elderly or high-risk people in the household, until symptom-free (without meds) for 72 hours and feeling better. 

Please call the office if you are concerned your child is getting worse, especially if any trouble breathing, dehydration, fever for more than 3 days, or irritability or lethargy.  We are always available to answer any phone calls if you have questions about your child; please be patient with our staff as they have an increased volume of calls right now and want to make sure they are giving each parent the care and advice needed. 

ARE YOU TESTING FOR COVID-19 IN THE OFFICE?

No.  We are currently NOT testing for COVID-19 in the office, unless specifically directed to collect specimens for the GA Department of Public Health.  With the limited number of tests available at this time, it is important to preserve these test kits for use for hospitalized patients and others at high-risk.  Also, CHOA and Piedmont Hospital are NOT testing patients who are not hospitalized. 

IS “SOCIAL DISTANCING” REALLY THAT IMPORTANT?

Yes!  The purpose of social distancing is to slow the spread of COVID-19, as our hospitals have a limited number of beds and equipment.  Luckily, most children will have minimal symptoms, but they are contagious!  We need to help the health care system to be able to have the resources available to care for the elderly, immunocompromised, and medically fragile.  Please remember that the point of closing schools and cancelling events is NOT to have play dates and sleepovers!! 

WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19?

As with any respiratory infection, it is always important to practice good hand hygiene!  Remember to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash hands.  Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Avoid contact with others when you are sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.  Check in on grandparents or elderly/immunocompromised neighbors with a phone call but avoid exposing these high-risk populations to your children.

SHOULD MY CHILD STILL COME IN FOR A WELL-CHILD PHYSICAL?

Yes.  We are still having regular office-hours, including for well-child visits.  As you know,  your infant or toddler receives immunizations at most well-child visits which are important to prevent serious vaccine-preventable diseases.  We are also available for sick visits (like earaches, possible strep throat, allergies) as usual. 

We are implementing a process so that after checking in, you can wait in your car, hall, or downstairs, until we call you that we are ready to see your child.  Please be patient with our staff as we work to minimize your time in our waiting room and implement social distancing in the office.  Our staff also continues to clean all surfaces frequently, and we encourage you to use the sinks and hand sanitizers in each exam room.

We also request that you only bring to the office your child who is being seen.  Please leave your other children and any older family members at home if possible.

HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD NOT BE WORRIED ABOUT COVID-19?

Recognize that you may be worried and anxious; it has been overwhelming!  But it is important to reassure your child and to remain calm and rational.  Filter information and talk about it with your child in a way that they can understand.

Keep your child’s routine as much as possible.  Children may not be in school, but they should continue their regular bedtimes and mealtimes.  We recognize that your child will have more screen time than usual, but it should still be limited and monitored – use it as a way for your child to communicate with friends and family.  Encourage family outdoor play and other activities.

THERE IS SO MUCH INFORMATION RIGHT NOW!  WHAT ARE RELIABLE WEBSITES FOR MY FAMILY?

www.choa.org/covid19

www.healthychildren.org (from American Academy of Pediatrics)

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

www.coronavirus.jhu.edu

All of us at Piedmont Pediatrics are working hard to continue to provide high-quality medical care.  As things change, we will update our families as quickly as possible.  Please be understanding and patient during this unprecedented time.  Thank you for trusting us with the care of your families.