Memphis Children’s Clinic is dedicated to keeping your kids healthy and safe. We know that many parents are concerned about COVID-19, and we wanted to review some of the most recent information with you.

Firstly, COVID-19 is part of a larger group of coronaviruses which we see all the time and usually cause a mild illness, the common cold. COVID-19 was discovered in December 2019 and has spread throughout the world. The illness can include no symptoms at all, mild symptoms, or severe illness. As of right now, the elderly or medically fragile seem to be the most vulnerable. Thankfully, children seem to be at lower risk of getting significantly sick!

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If your child has these symptoms or was exposed to someone who has COVID-19, call us! We do not recommend going to the doctor’s office or hospital just to get tested. CALL FIRST! We do not have an office test for COVID-19 at this time. Currently there is no vaccine for COVID-19, but one will eventually be available. There is no medicine or specific treatment at this time beyond supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

Ways to protect your family:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol content
  • Keep your kids away from anyone who is sick, and keep them home if they are sick
  • Teach them to cough and sneeze into their elbow or into a tissue
  • Teach them to avoid touching their face (which is really hard with kids anyway, but you can break out the old fidget spinners or stress balls to occupy busy hands)
  • Clean and disinfect your home as usual using regular cleaning products

**Facemasks are only recommended for those who have symptoms of fever and cough or whoever is taking care of a family member with confirmed or possible COVID-19.

Since schools have closed, keep the daytime schedule as routine as possible. Read books, encourage active play, and especially monitor media time. Also try to keep up with schoolwork online.

Kids also pay attention to the news so they might be frightened or anxious. As a parent, you should try to filter it and explain it to them in a way they can understand.

Here are some tips:

  • Simple reassurance. Remind them that lots of doctors and scientists are working to keep them safe.
  • Give them control. Encourage them to take charge and wash hands, cough in their elbow, get plenty of sleep.
  • Watch for symptoms of anxiety. Kids may not have the words to express their concern, so look for other behaviors like crankiness, clinging, trouble sleeping, and distraction.
  • Monitor their media access and avoid scary images or disturbing scenes. For your older children, make sure you keep them informed and correct any misinformation they may have seen on the internet.

Keeping ourselves informed is very important also, so watch for local and national updates. The CDC and WHO websites are good sources for detailed factual information. Local news stations will have more locally relevant information.

Updated 3/31/2020