There is no question that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly everyone around the globe in some way. However, when most people think about the virus, children aren’t the first group to come to mind. There is a reason for that. Since the discovery of the virus, children have been considered more “low-risk” than adults when it comes to contracting it.
But now that schools are back in session across the country, and some children are back to learning in person, you might be a bit more worried about your child’s health.
According to the CDC, most cases of COVID-19 in children under the age of 18 are asymptomatic or mild. But children can still get the virus, and it can still be deadly. Like anyone else, they are more at risk when they are around other people.
So what can you do as a parent to protect your child’s health, advocate for them with their doctor(s), and understand your rights?
The Challenges of Being Seen
These are already uncertain times for everyone. For parents, though, things can feel even more overwhelming. Many doctor’s offices across the country are still taking extreme precautions to keep people safe. That means staggering appointments and seeing fewer patients. While these practices are meant to keep people safe, they can immediately cause difficulties for parents of children with special needs or disabilities. In any type of medical facility, these children often need ways to reduce stress, including:
- An established familiarity with the building
- Reward systems
- Relationships with the doctors/staff
It’s hard to find ways to reduce stress when mask-wearing is the norm, children are being asked to social distance, or when you can’t get an appointment at all!
If you have a sick child, whether they have coronavirus or not, that can be infuriating. It’s incredibly important to be vigilant with your child’s health, especially babies. Up to 7% of newborns are born with breathing problems, and many parents have concerns about their baby’s breathing patterns. Since respiratory issues have often been linked with COVID-19, it’s normal to be concerned about such things. But not being able to get an appointment to see a doctor right away is a scary thought.
If you suspect that your child is sick or has any abnormal symptoms, give them plenty of fluids, make sure they rest, give them attention, and keep contacting their doctor. If you’re seriously concerned, taking them to the hospital can also be an option that will help them to get seen.
Important Signs to Look For
Even though many children who test positive for COVID-19 don’t show symptoms, others will start to show some of the same signs as adults if they’ve contracted the illness. Some of the most common signs of COVID-19 in a child include:
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Breathing issues
- Abdominal pain
Again, vigilance is hugely important as a parent. While many of these symptoms are common with other illnesses like the flu, taking them seriously during these unsteady times can be more beneficial for you as a parent. Let’s talk more about why, and how easy it is to be blamed in the medical community for mistakes in treating your child.
Understanding Your Rights as a Parent
Physicians are meant to help parents by providing compassionate care and negotiating with them as to what the best medical needs of their children may be. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Because so many doctors across the country aren’t seeing patients in person for non-emergency cases, you may run the risk of your child not getting an appointment with their doctor. Though we’ve already touched on that, what is important to note is that if your child continues to get worse and receives no medical attention, you could end up shouldering the blame.
Contact medical providers early and often. Keep track of any and all interactions between yourself or your child and healthcare providers. Explain your child’s symptoms, attempt to get them an appointment, and take them in-person to a hospital if they can’t be seen elsewhere. By showing that you are doing everything in your power to protect them, you will be less likely to be accused of medical neglect. Taking those extra steps will not only protect your child’s health but their overall wellbeing, as they will remain under your care.
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