PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s been said there’s no manual for parenting. That goes double for parenting during a pandemic, especially when it comes to handling and assessing kids’ medical needs.
KGW reporter Maggie Vespa put out calls on social media asking for parents’ questions and then took those questions to Dr. Anna Meyers, a pediatrician with Providence Health.
Their conversation went as follows.
MAGGIE: Tanna and Daniel on Facebook wanted to know ‘Can I still take my 4-month-old in for vaccines?’
DR. MEYERS: Yeah, so we're still recommending that patients bring their children in for vaccines because we want to try and maintain the vaccine schedule and prevent those communicable diseases that are preventable through vaccination. That's still important to us. If you have a wellness visit and there's no vaccines due, we are trying to push them out and move them and schedule them to a later time.
MAGGIE: Someone asked about the symptoms of the virus in babies and young children.
DR. MEYERS: So when we talk about respiratory symptoms in kids at any age… If you see any difficulty in breathing, and that can look different depending on your age. If they have a cough, a runny nose and maybe a low-grade fever but they’re active, they’re eating well, they’re still drinking fluids, you can continue to watch them at home, but if you start to see any respiratory distress, shortness of breath… it’s okay to call your clinic and say ‘Hey I’m seeing these symptoms in my kiddo. Should I be concerned? Should I bring them to the ER or not?’
MAGGIE: Jennifer on Facebook asked My 5-year-old has asthma and a simple cold virus can put him in the PICU. I’ve heard and read conflicting information; that even kids with asthma are faring well and also asthma being something that makes him “high risk” for complications if he catches the virus. Can you clarify?
DR. MEYERS: Anybody who has any chronic medical condition, asthma being one of them, we could say is at potentially a higher risk. Things are evolving all the time. Things are changing rapidly. So I would say to my patients, what I would tell them, I to do what you would normally do at home. So if your child has asthma, and they take inhalers, steroid inhalers or medications that they’re supposed to be taking, and they’re not sick, I would continue to do those normal medical treatments that you would otherwise do. If, again, if your child comes down with respiratory symptoms, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, we would recommend you call your provider, your pediatrician, your physician.
MAGGIE: One woman actually wrote ‘We are on full a lockdown here in Spain and we live in an apartment with no outdoor space. Our two toddlers (3 & 4) are quite active. What can we do to let them get their energy out in a safe and fun way? (We've tried yoga, but I feel like they need more.)’
DR. MEYERS: Wow, I’m sure that’s really challenging. I know there’s a lot of gyms and fitness centers that are having some online programs… kids will do what parents are doing. So if you’re doing even some jumping jacks, or you could turn on some music, do some dancing, anything like that. You could get creative, you could make like a little, depending on your child’s age, scavenger hunt in your house. I think that everyone’s getting creative, and there’s a lot of great resources out there and even on things like Pinterest and Instagram, people are sharing their ideas, so it’s been really nice to see how the community can get together.