“What if I get sick?”
It’s a troubling thought, especially now that childcare centers are closed and we are discouraged from interacting with others outside the home. So what should parents do if they develop symptoms of COVID-19? We did some digging to find out what medical experts recommend.
Have a Crisis Plan
While most cases of the coronavirus are mild, it is important to make an emergency plan should both you are your partner (or just you if you’re a single parent) need hospital care. Is there someone you can designate for childcare? Dr. Priya Soni, assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, explains that parents should turn to low-risk, healthy friends or relatives that live nearby in the case of an emergency. Ask them if they’d be willing to care for your child(ren) if the adults in your home need hospital care.
We understand. This is a big deal. But in the midst of this crisis, having a plan in place can reduce stress and make you feel more prepared. If there’s no one nearby that you can assign as your designated caregiver, contact your hospital or pediatrician and ask about emergency resources for families.
If You’re Feeling Mild COVID-19 Symptoms
One piece of good news is that most cases of the coronavirus are mild (cough, sore throat, fever, fatigue) and those infected should be able to recover at home. But without the support from our normal go-to childcare sources, those with mild symptoms may have no choice but to parent while sick.
Dr. Manasa Mantravadi, a pediatrician with Riley Children’s Health in Indianapolis, advises parents to isolate as a family unit, but to remain in the home. Mantravadi recommends that parents experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms keep as much distance as possible from family members in the home, and avoid sharing household items, such as towels, blankets, utensils, and cups. Continue to wipe down common areas, surfaces or objects that are frequently touched (e.g. remote controls, countertops, doorknobs, or sinks). Sick parents should also use a separate bathroom if possible. If that’s not possible, the toilet, sink, and countertop should be cleaned after each use. And of course, everyone needs to remember to wash their hands.
New mothers have also shared concerns about breastfeeding during the coronavirus outbreak. Because breastmilk contains so many nutrients that boost a newborn’s immune system, the CDC states that it’s okay to continue to breastfeed, even if you’re feeling sick. Mothers who are experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms should wash their hands before holding their baby and wear a mask while nursing. If you have further questions about breastfeeding, contact your healthcare provider or review these breastfeeding recommendations from the CDC.
Parenting is tough, even on a good day. Caring for your baby or toddler while you’re sick is an incredible challenge. But medical professionals are urging parents with mild symptoms to stay at home, treat their symptoms, and try to avoid spreading the virus within the home by following the above recommendations.
If Your Symptoms Get Worse
All parents need to watch out for emergency warning signs explained here by the CDC. These include, but are not limited to:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
If your symptoms worsen, call your doctor or hospital immediately. Mantravadi reminds us that each state and county has its own testing procedures and emergency care measures. That’s why it’s important to call first before you head to hospitals or doctors’ offices. Calling ahead can help prevent the spread of the disease and direct you to the appropriate place for care.
BabySparks is committed to staying on top of all COVID-19 developments. Refer to the CDC website or contact your doctor for further information on keeping your family healthy and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.