This week, a Queen Creek charter school student tested positive for novel coronavirus.
While many Phoenix-area schools are on spring break this week, a rise in new cases like the one out of American Leadership Academy have put parents on alert for symptoms in their kids, particularly if they have an underlying illness like asthma.
One comforting fact for parents: The CDC reports that in China, significantly more adults have tested positive than children.
Generally, experts say, parents should look for the same coronavirus symptoms that present in adults. Dr. Vinny Chulani, who leads the adolescent medicine program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said parents should get their child tested as early as possible, as soon as symptoms present.
“In general, we’re looking for a history of exposure, any time they’ve been around sick contacts,” he said.
Erin Graf, co-director of Microbiology at Mayo Clinic Arizona, has advised individuals to first see their regular doctor to determine whether a test is merited.
Chulani said parents of children with asthma should monitor their child’s asthma symptoms. If breathing worsens, contact their doctor. But, he added, asthma symptoms in children tend to fluctuate, so they may be flaring up for a reason other than coronavirus.
So far, Chulani said, health officials have seen a pattern of more mild symptoms in children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that there have been reports of severe complications in children, but “they appear to be uncommon.” It does state that children with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk of severe infection. In adults, those health conditions have included diabetes and respiratory illnesses.
All parents should take note of any flu-like symptoms, including fever, runny nose and cough, according to the CDC.
And children, like adults, should take part in the same preventive measures recommended for adults: Parents should encourage kids to wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs and stay up to date on vaccinations.
The CDC states that it does not have information yet available about whether a pregnant woman can transmit the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus before, during or after delivery.
A limited study of cases has not found any evidence of the virus in amniotic fluid or breastmilk, according to the CDC.
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