What if my children are infected with COVID-19? What are the symptoms? How we can get them tested? How we can limit infection among children?
In Australia, the number of cases of COVID-19 in children is low. Only 4.5% of cases have been in school-aged children (between five and 17 years). This figure was 2.2% in early June 2020.
The virus can infect children but symptoms are very mild and grave consequences from the virus are very rare in children.
Children rarely spread the virus. Usually, they get the virus from an adult. Rates of the spread of COVID-19 in day-care and school are very low.
Symptoms can be:
vomiting and diarrhoea,
Rarely do children develop a multi-system condition named " Paediatric Inflammatory Multi-system Syndrome Temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS)" with Covid-19. There has been no case of PIMS-TS in Australia.
If our children are unwell, no matter how mild they are please use Telehealth and get them tested. While they are unwell they need to stay home and if the COVID-19 test is positive they need to be in isolation(home) until the public health unit/your doctor advises that they can go back to school or day-care.
For test sites in VIC please click here: Test sites in VIC
With Telehealth you can get information about symptoms, test sites and documents needed. It is important that you know you are not alone and your doctors are one phone call away to help.
Isolation at home is the most effective measure to limit and stop the spreading of this virus. It means no guests or visitors and not going to a shopping centre or playground. Having a mask can limit the virus from spreading but still, there is a risk.
In case of positive tests, family members should get tested as well.
How do prepare children for this pandemic?
"Guidelines for talking to children about Novel Coronavirus
Speak to them calmly and openly. Try not to wrap them up in cotton wool but at the same time choose your words carefully. Saying that it is a ‘pandemic never seen before in our lifetimes does not help to calm your child.
Encourage them to ask questions.
Ask them to share with you what they know and what they are worried about. Agree with them if you have the same concerns but also offer reassurance and set up a plan to help deal or cope with that worry.
Reassure them it’s normal to be worried about the coronavirus and that most people feel a little concerned.
Provide reassurance that as young people, they are relatively safe. The (current) data suggests that young people have a lower risk of catching the virus, and if they do, they are unlikely to get very sick and even less likely to be hospitalised.
Let them know that you will be available to talk to them about their worries whenever they would like to and if they think of questions after your chat, they can just come and ask them anytime.
Identify some key responsible adults in their life they can talk to if they are feeling worried.
Choose one reputable website to get your information from (such as the Department of Health) and resist the temptation to look at more sensational sources.
Let them know what plans are in place to keep their family safe and encourage regular safe contact with loved ones (e.g., video chat with grandparents).
General tips to support your child’s well-being during this time:
Remaining active is very important for mental health and wellbeing. Many school sporting competitions have been postponed and substitute activities like going outside for walks or doing online exercise programs are great options (yoga, Zumba).
Make sure you join in with the fun. It can be hard if you’re not feeling well yourself or if you’re having to make lots of decisions about changing your routine, but remember your child is looking to you to know how to behave. Show them there is still time for fun.
Encourage communication with friends using virtual formats when face-to-face isn’t an option.
Develop a plan with your child about their schooling over the coming weeks. This will need to be done in collaboration with their schools, but it will be reassuring for them to know that there is a plan, even if it needs to be adopted at a later date.
Help your child to get enough sleep. You can do this by limiting the use of screens late in the evening and encouraging your child to start a wind-down routine about an hour before they head to bed. This helps them prepare their body and mind for sleep."1
To arrange psychologist counselling for children please make a long appointment by Telehealth with our doctors. They can make mental health plan for you and give a referral to a psychologist.
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