COVID-19 is not just frightening because it is a potentially fatal disease. The most-deadly pandemic in recent history is absolutely frightening because of the growing number of children becoming infected. These children are experiencing serious side effects and long-term health issues, even after making a full recovery from coronavirus. Parents want to keep their kids safe and coronavirus free, but ultimately there is no way to fully protect them 100 percent. Healthcare professionals are fighting diligently to prevent and treat COVID-19 in adolescents, and they are making progress.
Here is what has changed since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic.
More Research on How Coronavirus Impacts Children
When the first positive COVID-19 cases became well-known, what doctors noticed is that there were only a very small number of children being infected. In fact, it almost seemed like children were totally immune. Of the few children who did get the virus, their symptoms and recoveries were quite unremarkable. Unfortunately, the number of adolescents being infected with coronavirus grew, and the first fatalities were recorded. No longer were kids thought to be safe from this disease that the medical community still knew little about. Now, there is a lot more research being conducted on kids who have coronavirus. Doctors have a better idea of what types of treatments are effective, and more children are making a full recovery.
Increased Testing in Adolescents
During the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic, healthcare workers were left to guess about who was infected versus who wasn't, because there was not enough testing going on. A person could have severe symptoms, but they could also have the flu or another respiratory disorder. Whether a person has an active case of coronavirus or has completely recovered, there are now tests that can be used to identify coronavirus antibodies. In fact, some of those who have beaten coronavirus have volunteered to have their blood used for a possible cure or treatment. Children have subsequently become tested more often, which has helped their families to keep them from furthering the spread of the disease.
Healthcare Education on the Impact of COVID-19 in Kids
It is still somewhat debated whether or not COVID-19 is airborne. People are advised to keep their mouths and noses covered, as well as to disinfect all surfaces they come in contact with. Both children and medical experts have also received a crash course in COVID-19 safety and precautions. Even small children are instructed to avoid touching things and to wear a mask. Students of online pediatric nurse practitioner programs are learning how to keep themselves and their patients safe in real-life settings. Pediatric doctors’ offices are giving patients and their families grab bags that include masks and are advising kids to use hand sanitizer. Every step of the way, the healthcare community is rallying around the idea that further education on coronavirus will help to slow the spread.
Social Distancing and School Closures
Not all school districts are handling things the same, but online distance learning programs are becoming rather commonplace. The fact of the matter is that schools are a high-risk environment for children. In addition to them being places with a lot of people present, the reality is that children are not as likely to follow protocols as adults are. Imagine a class filled with second graders told to keep masks on all day. Small children especially are prone to spreading germs as they are hands-on learners. Many schools as a result have closed, and fewer kids are testing positive for COVID-19 because there are fewer opportunities for them to become infected. At first, it was thought that schools would remain shuttered until the fall, but now it is looking like few schools will resume operations normally until some point in 2021.
Better Safety Protocols in Pediatric Doctors’ Offices
While many businesses have shut down, and healthcare facilities have closed shop to anyone without serious symptoms, pediatric doctors’ offices have had to remain open throughout the pandemic. Children become sick and are accidentally injured frequently, and a parent simply can't guess when their child's health may be on the line. This means that children are going to the doctors a lot more frequently than adults. Different protocols are being used to help maintain social distancing protocols. Patient waiting rooms are empty and pediatric doctors’ offices are asking families to remain outside until just before their appointments. Patient examination rooms are being sanitized between uses, and patients are screened the day before they come in for a visit.
Increasing Pediatric Healthcare Professionals Trained to Treat Coronavirus
A surge in the number of doctors and nurses being fast-tracked and graduating early has been shocking. Many states made the decision to have students in medical and nursing school graduate months ahead of time because hospitals need more frontline workers. Many of these recent graduates have been ready and eager to jump into the fight against COVID-19 in adolescents. Some have been alarmed by seeing the disease as it ravages the population. All have the skills and information that they need to keep themselves, their families, and everyone they come into contact with safer during treatments. In addition to PPE, hospitals have been upgrading their ventilation systems and putting hand sanitizing stations in every room. Doctors and nurses are careful when treating patients, whether they have coronavirus symptoms or a positive diagnosis, and whether they are children or adults.
With as many precautions that adults and children are taking, there is no completely foolproof way to avoid becoming infected with the coronavirus. This is why being careful not to catch or spread the disease is so critical. Sometimes, the disease is spread within households and families despite the care being taken. However, improvements are being made every day and doctors feel that a vaccine will be available in the near future. And hopefully, all of the millions of children in the US and the billions of kids worldwide will be in line to receive this valuable protection from coronavirus first.