What is Coronavirus/COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms can range from mild (or even no symptoms) to severe. Adults and older people with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease are more likely to develop serious illness, while children tend to develop milder illness. Researchers are learning more and more about how to prevent and treat COVID-19 every day.
COVID Vaccine PSA
Dr. Vanessa Sukra encourages all eligible patients and their families to do their part to protect themselves and other by receiving the COVID vaccine.
Watch to learn more!
The symptoms of COVID-19 are different for everyone but may include:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- body aches
- loss of taste and/or smell
For some people, the symptoms may feel like a bad cold or flu. Others, especially adults with other health conditions, may have severe respiratory symptoms that could progress to pneumonia. Some patients require hospitalization and breathing assistance.
In addition, if your child exhibits any of the symptoms that could be related to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (see below), always call your pediatrician.Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.
Although many people have mild to moderate symptoms, COVID-19 can be life threating to you and those around you. Older adults and those with pre-existing health problems (such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer) are at increased risk of getting very sick. Currently, there is no way to determine who will experience more severe disease and require medical attention.
Children are less likely to experience severe symptoms. However, COVID-19 may cause other illnesses such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome. The vaccine is the best way to prevent these illnesses in all ages.
To help slow the spread, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking everyone to take some important steps, including:
- Get Vaccinated: As of November 2021, everyone 5 years of age and older is eligible for the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, and the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent hospitalizations and death.
- Wear a mask: Wearing a face mask is still important to protect you and others. You should wear a face mask indoors in public places regardless of vaccine status. Although the virus does not spread as readily outdoors, we recommend wearing a mask if you can’t maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or if you are in close proximity to others with unknown vaccination status. When choosing a mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has. Learn more about improving how your mask protects you.
- Practice physical distancing: Outside your home maintain six feet of distance between yourself and people who do not live in your household. It is possible for a person to spread the virus even if they are not showing signs or symptoms of illness.
- Practice good hand and respiratory hygiene: Be sure to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol based hand rub especially before eating. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth because the virus can enter through those areas. Always remember to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Prevent the spread by staying home if you are sick.
The vaccine is the most effective way to keep those around you safe.
If your child (or anyone else in your family) has any symptoms, you’ll need to stay at home and avoid being around other people. If possible, keep your child in a room where they won’t have contact with other family members or use common household items. Many grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies are now offering contactless deliveries.
Currently, there is no cure for COVID-19, but vaccines can prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.
COVID-19 continues to be a rapidly changing situation. The CDC COVID-19 website offers the most up-to-date information.
The New York State Health Department website also has state-specific information about COVID-19 and links to many helpful resources for families. For specific questions about your child, contact your doctor's office.
During this challenging time, children and parents may be feeling a lot of stress. Learn how to cope with the stresses caused by changes to your daily routine, worries about your health and well-being, and worries about the health of family members. Learn more here!
Want to learn more about COVID-19? Watch a recording of one of our free parent webinar sessions!
Keeping patients safe
We want you to know that our offices at Boston Children’s Health Physicians are safe and ready to care for you and your family.
- All patients and families are screened for their risk of COVID-19 before coming into the office.
- Our locations utilize Phreesia, a mobile check in solution, to limit time spent at the reception desk.
- Our waiting rooms have been eliminated or configured to allow for social distancing.
- Our offices have adjusted their hours of operation and schedule templates. Sick and well-visits will be seen at different times of the day. This structure allows for empty waiting rooms and appropriate cleaning and disinfecting to take place.
- Only one family member or caregiver should accompany patients to their appointment.
- Our employees are wearing medical masks and heightened personal protective equipment.
- All adults and children over the age of 2 who enter a BCHP office are be required to wear a face-covering and have their temperature taken.
- Physical barriers are present at all reception desks.
- Toys, reading materials, and other communal objects are removed from waiting areas.
- Diligent cleaning of medical equipment, doorknobs, counters, bathrooms, etc. takes place frequently throughout the day.
SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing
Many families would like to know if their child has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Antibody testing, also called serology testing, is a simple blood test that can determine if antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are present in the blood. Antibodies develop usually weeks after the body has been exposed to the virus so antibody testing is not a test for active infection.
Although antibody tests are currently available through many commercial laboratories, at this time BCHP does not recommend routine antibody testing for all patients. There are a number of reasons for this decision, including:
- Since COVID-19 is such a new illness, we don’t yet know if the antibodies will protect a child from getting COVID-19 again. For some illnesses, antibodies offer life-long protection, however, in other cases, antibodies offer only limited protection, or even no protection, against future infection.
- If the antibodies do offer protection, it is also unknown how long that protection will last.
- There are many misleading results from antibody tests for COVID-19. A negative test does not rule out past infection, and a positive test does not mean that a child is immune to COVID-19. Essentially, neither a positive test or a negative test will change behavior recommendations.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C)
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a serious illness related to COVID-19 that has been seen in a small number of children. It affects a number of organs, including the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal system, skin, and eyes.
The most common symptoms of this disease include persistent fevers, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, headaches, and swollen hands and feet. However, it is important to note that this condition may present differently in each child.
Always call your pediatrician if you notice these symptoms or have any concerns.
At Boston Children’s Health Physicians, we are following all of the state and federal guidelines to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.
If you suspect your child has COVID-19, call your pediatrician’s office for advice. Many of our clinicians are now seeing patients remotely through virtual or telehealth visits (these are visits done right from your home) whenever possible to avoid the spread of germs in our facilities. Your doctor will decide if a COVID-19 test is necessary and if so, will tell you how to proceed with testing.
A virtual visit, which can be done using a smartphone, tablet, or computer, can also be an appropriate option for diagnosing colds, flus, allergies, and other health concerns, as well as managing chronic conditions and prescription refills.
> For complex or urgent needs that require a face-to-face visit, we continue to have staff available for in-person appointments. We are following the latest safety practices to ensure our waiting and exam rooms are free from germs. We are also strictly limiting the number of patients we see in person as part of our commitment to physical distancing. For patients scheduled for non-urgent procedures or exams, check with your physician to reschedule.
Get answers to common questions about the new coronavirus.Learn more about frequently asked questions
Highlights about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome
Here are some highlights of what we know so far about multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.Learn more about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome