Greetings to my CRBC family.
I miss you all so much! I am a very social person, and I miss our CRBC family immensely. Steve asked me to put together a short blog on what I am experiencing as a pediatric nurse during this COVID-19 pandemic and answers that I am giving to reassure parents of pediatric patients that are calling or coming into our office.
First, let me say that healthy children under the age of 10 are very low risk for getting COVID-19, and if they do happen to get it, they usually get a very mild case that manifests itself as a cold with cough and fever. That being said, it is still important for them to stay home and not visit grandparents because they can be asymptomatic carriers. However, children with chronic illnesses still need to be very careful and are higher risk.
Secondly, let me say that there are many different illnesses that can cause fever and cough in a child. If your child has a fever and a cough, do not panic and assume that they have COVID-19. Influenza, ear infections, strep throat, and many other illnesses can cause fever and/or cough. If your child is sick, and you feel that they need to be seen, please call your pediatrician’s office first. In our office, we triage all patients by phone call first, and then decide the best method of evaluation and treatment. When you call, you will be asked if you child has a fever or a cough. You will also be asked if you have traveled anywhere in the past 2 weeks and/or if you have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive to COVID-19. Once you have shared that information, and the symptoms that your child has been experiencing, the nurse will decide if your child can be evaluated by a virtual visit by phone, or if they need to be seen by a doctor to be evaluated. Please know that doctor’s offices are doing everything they can to keep families safe if they have to come into the office. In our office, we are only seeing well visits in the morning which are babies thru 15 months who need to get their vaccines to be protected. We ask that only 1 parent and no siblings come with a sick child to limit exposure as much as possible. We take everyone’s temperature in the waiting room before they are admitted into our office. If anyone has a temp. of 100 or more, they have to put a mask on immediately.
In addition, we only see sick patients in the afternoon, and we space them out so only one family is in the waiting room at a time. We ask parents to call us from the parking lot when they arrive, and we advise them when to come up to our office so that only one family is in the waiting room at a time. We are also cleaning and sanitizing every exam room after every single patient.
One more tidbit of information…in my office, if we think that a patient might have COVID-19 because they are symptomatic and have either traveled recently or been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, we cannot even make the final decision to have them tested. We have to call a coronavirus hotline at the hospital, discuss the scenario, and they will determine if the patient should be tested. For the most part, pediatric patients are not being tested for COVID-19, because they usually have very mild symptoms and can be treated at home. They are saving the tests for high risk patients who are over 60 years of age, are hospitalized due to illness, or have underlying chronic illnesses that compromise their immune system.
I hope this helps to ease the minds of parents with young children during these difficult and uncertain times. I like to dwell on Psalm 62:6-8.
Please be in prayer for all of those nurses and healthcare professionals who are on the front lines daily. It is very scary having to deal with an outbreak of a very serious illness, that can be deadly, on a daily basis. They are also dealing with a shortage of PPE which is the personal protective equipment that is used to keep them safe and protect them from contracting the virus. In addition, they are afraid they will take the virus home to their families.
I cannot wait until we can all meet again at CBRC! I love you all and miss you like crazy! HUGS TO ALL!
And as always, if you have any healthcare questions about your children, please don’t hesitate to call.
Kris Williams RN/BSN