In these trying times a lot of us are facing a situation where we’ve come in contact with friends or family members who have tested positive. In a pandemic situation exposure to children is common. Don’t worry as not all children who are exposed will get the infection and most of the infected children get better quickly.
Firstly, assume that you’ve come in contact with the virus
Before you take any step, mentally prepare yourself that you’ve come in contact with the virus. Let this safety first attitude guide all your phase 1 actions.
- Get tested for Covid-19 using an RT-PCR Test. Call early and call often. Every medical lab in Bangalore is stressed to the limit. It may take you several attempts on the phone to even get through to someone who can book an appointment for collecting your sample.
- Who should get tested?All the adults who have come in contact with the person who has tested positive must get tested. While there is no good definition of what is considered exposure to a Covid positive person, rule of thumb is if your child has spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet distance of the infected person, the risk is high. Unless a child is very young, get all children tested as well. For a child that is less than a year old, you can use your discretion. The parents can get tested and if the result is negative, and the baby is not showing any symptoms, then it’s ok to not get the baby tested.
- When to get tested? If either the adult or the child is showing symptoms, it’s best to get tested right away. In cases where symptoms are not shown, it is better to wait a few days (around 5 days) after exposure, as prescribed by your doctor. This will help avoid false negative reports.
- When in doubt, TEST.Always when in doubt, test. However remember that negative test does not rule out infection. Contact your doctor. This applies to children of age less than one year as well.
- Quarantine anyone who has symptoms. Isolation should be done very strictly. The person should use a separate room and bathroom which other family members should not use (if possible). Use separate plates and cutlery (use disposable ones if possible). Other family members must wear a good mask (preferably N95) and keep at least 2 feet distance if they have to interact with the person. If both parents and child are showing symptoms then they can be together. Isolation is hard if only the child is showing symptoms and the parents are not. In such cases if the child is very young (say less than two years), then parents can interact with the child, but with an N95 mask on and following good sanitization practices.
Secondly, contact your physician and/or pediatrician
Contact your physician and/or pediatrician immediately. If you can’t reach your pediatrician for any reason, you can chat with us (for free) and we will advise you right away on chat/video call. Please don’t medicate yourself or your child with paracetamol or home remedies without talking to your doctor.
If a child is showing symptoms, it is important to start treatment early assuming that the child might test positive for Covid even before the RT-PCR test result is available.
Even if you or your child is not showing symptoms, if you’ve come in contact with someone who has tested Covid positive, it doesn’t hurt to talk to your physician/pediatrician and get advice on what symptoms to watch for and what protocols to follow at home.
Thirdly, don’t panic
We know that as soon as someone who you’ve been in contact with tells you that they’ve tested positive, it’s human nature to get scared. But don’t panic.
In young children Covid infections are mild in most cases and most children recover in 3–4 days. It is important to stay calm and contact your physician/pediatrician and follow the advice they give you.
Lastly, follow the treatment plan
Please follow the treatment plan provided by your physician/pediatrician. We find that a lot of patients get multiple opinions, start searching for hospital beds or oxygen concentrators even though their doctor hasn’t said these are necessary, or searching for drugs that the doctor hasn’t prescribed. Please avoid these. It’s ok to get a second opinion. But following the instructions of a doctor you trust is important.
For children we normally provide a treatment plan like this —
Day 1 — RT-PCR test result is positive or when symptoms are seen in the child. We start treatment with prescription of drugs on Day 1.
Day 4 — We do a followup to see whether the symptoms have come down and assess how the child is responding to the drugs.
Day 8 — We do a second followup to make sure the child is symptom-free and recovering and assess if any treatment is still necessary.
Day 14 — We do a third followup to ensure that the child has recovered fully and we discuss with the parents whether isolation is still necessary and whether an RT-PCR test is necessary.
Stay Safe and Stay Calm.