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EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS: Pearls from a Practicing Pediatrician - “Positive Parenting and Coronavirus COVID-19 – Tips from the AAP”

Posted: Apr 23, 2020
Comments: 0
Author: UCA Admin

Content provided by Thomas W. Tryon, MD, MBA, FAAP; UCA Pediatric Section Chair

In my over thirty years of healthcare practice, to say this has been and continues to be the most challenging time in my professional life would be an understatement.  Daily, as the Coronavirus COVID-19 infection and death rates rise, we realize the monumental battle we are facing and the incredible toll it is taking on parents, grandparents and our nation.  All our children are being impacted in one way or another, whether it is simply by being out of school and homebound while we face this pandemic. 

To this point for infants and children the news appears to still be good.  Coronavirus seems to be an infection that impacts adults much more than children.  In addition, information from China on children who were infected with the virus seems to indicate that they had a rather mild infection that mimicked the common cold with a runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever.  The risk of severe illness, hospitalizations and death appears to be very low.  What is not known at this point is the role that children may have at spreading the disease, especially if they have very mild symptoms yet are contagious.  There is much to be learned about COVID-19. 

Based on a very recent article “COVID-19 and Children” published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet on March 27th, “Severe COVID-19 in children is rare. To date, the largest review of children with COVID-19 included 2143 children in China. Only 112 (5·6%) of 2143 children had severe disease (defined as hypoxia) and 13 (0·6%) children developed respiratory or multiorgan failure or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). At the time of writing, there have been two reported deaths in children testing positive for COVID-19 in China, and no deaths in Italy.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on children not only medically but also socially and psychologically.  The AAP has published “Positive Parenting and COVID-19:  Ten Tips to Help Keep the Calm at Home”.  Here are a few of these important tips:

  • Address fears.  Specifically, children who are old enough to follow the news may be afraid and are especially afraid that their parents will die and of being separated from their parents.  Reassurance is important to alleviate their fears. 
  • Prevent boredom.  We know that frustrated or bored children may well act out more than normal.  If you run out of ideas, there are online references on working and learning from home for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Know when not to respond.  Providing a lot of praise for good behavior and ignoring less than ideal behavior that is not dangerous is wise. 
  • Remember to take a breath.  Ask yourself, “How will I feel about this problem tomorrow?”; or “Is this situation permanent?”, or “Does the problem represent an immediate danger?”. 
  • Last, take care of yourself.  Getting adequate rest and exercise along with eating healthy will go along way to continuing to be the parent you are in normal times.
  • Here is a link to the entire article with the remainder of these important tips.

​My hope continues to be that, like we typically see with influenza, we will see Coronavirus COVID-19 burn out as we approach Spring and warmer weather.  Please protect yourselves and your family to the best of your ability and socially isolate yourselves as much as possible.  Best wishes to stay healthy, rest as much as you can, spend quality and quantity time with your inner circle of close family and children and continue to practice good hand hygiene.   


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