COLUMBUS (WCMH) – With Ohio’s COVID-19 case numbers at an all-time high and hospitals seeing record amounts of patients, parents are now wondering what to do if their children get sick.
Doctors are reminding parents not to rush their children to a hospital immediately. The first thing they should do is call their primary care doctor and try to get their child tested for COVID-19.
Even though more children are getting infected with COVID-19, they’re also less likely to be hospitalized, according to a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“For the most part, kids who get COVID-19 do pretty well with it and don’t have high severity of illness,” OhioHealth infectious disease specialist Dr. Joseph Gastaldo explained.
According to that report, in the past eight weeks, children represent about 12-15 percent of cases nationwide, which is up significantly from last spring.
“If you have a kid who you may think may have COVID-19, you have to recognize that the symptoms adults get, kids also get, too,” Gastaldo said.
Sore throat, fever, body aches and diarrhea are all COVID-19 symptoms that are similar to cold or flu symptoms.
“If you think your kid has COVID-19, you want to keep them at home, obviously,” Gastaldo said.
But there are other things to remember, especially if the parent is high risk.
“If you’re a single parent and it’s only you and your kids together, obviously you have to take care of your kid, depending on how old they are, and that’s one of the challenges you have to take into consideration,” Gastaldo said. “Do you have another family member or someone you can lean on?”
As the world waits for COVID-19 vaccines, keeping a close eye on children may be even more important than ever before.
“It could possibly be that when we first get the COVID-19 vaccine, they will not be recommended for children under the age of 12,” Gastaldo said. “We just don’t know yet.”
Until a vaccine is readily available, all the COVID-19 mitigation efforts apply and will continue to apply in the months ahead.
“The same thing we do in the adult world also applies to kids, too,” Gastaldo said.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital said it isn’t having the same issues as other emergency rooms. According to Gastaldo, if a child is gasping for air or short-winded, they should be taken to a hospital immediately to be evaluated.