Preparing for Coronavirus With High Risk Children
Having a high risk or medically complex child is normally stressful day to day. Throwing the threat of a new and unknown virus into the mix can be over the top. Can you imagine the feeling knowing that something like a cold or flu can put your little one’s life in danger? Now imagine how you’d feel knowing there’s a new mysterious virus floating around causing deaths in high risk populations. Although Coronavirus has not reared its ugly head much in children yet, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if my 2 children, who have a chronic medical condition got it, or what if we were not able to get the regular supplies that they need as a result of supply chain interruption, closures and mass hysteria?
Unfortunately people with high risk children live this life of worry almost every day. It’s not just Coronavirus, it’s influenza, gastro intestinal illnesses, strep throat and the list goes on. What can be just a simple illness to others can be a life threatening hospital trip to us.
With so many questions and unknowns with the Coronavirus and high risk kids, it’s smart to be prepared regardless.
Recommendations for High Risk Individuals
The CDC recommends the following for COVID-19 high risk individuals:
- Stock up on Supplies
- Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
- If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
- Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies to treat fever and other symptoms.
- Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often
- Avoid crowds as much as possible
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
Stock Up on Supplies
For us hoarding as much toilet paper and hand sanitizer as we can doesn’t cut it. Here’s a short list of what supplies our kids require day to day:
- Argo Cornstarch
- G-Tube button
- G-Tube extension
- 60ml Syringes
- 10 ml Syringes
- Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Protein Powder
- Calcium Supplement
- Vitamin D Supplement
- Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitor, Sensor, Transmitter and Receiver
- Alcohol Swabs
- Glucometer Test Strips
- Alarm Clock, Watch, Phone Alarm
- Ziploc bags/ Reusable Bottles
- Gram Scale
Not to mention they require a special diet with specifically timed meals and snacks
We also have a back up arsenal for times of illness or emergency which includes:
- Feeding Pumps
- Feeding Pump Bags
- Tolerex formula
- Emergeny Glucose/ Pixy Sticks
- Zofran- Anti-nausea medicine
- Lactic Acid Meter
- Lactic Acid Meter Strips
- Pulse Oximeter
- Medipore Tape
- Self Adherent Tape
- Battery Bank/Power Back up
- Extra batteries
Be sure to think about the specific needs of your child and family and always have extra!!!
Keep Space Between Yourself and Others and Avoid Crowds
Making space and avoiding crowds can be socially ostracizing. Many people will criticize your decision to say in, not participate and will tell you that you are “overreacting” but it may just be what saves your family.
- Keep in mind making space is not just limiting where your kids go, even when you head out alone. Remember you can still pick up and transmit illness when you get home.
- Be sure to limit the number of people who are entering your house. It can be a good idea to hang a sign on your door letting people know you have a high risk child or individual in your home. Those who are sick, or have been sick, or have been around others who are sick should NOT enter your home. We’ve provided examples of signs you can hang reminding those about when it’s ok to come in. The signs cover symptoms for Coronavirus and Influenza because those who are at high risk can be severely affected by both. Feel free to download (at the end of the article) and use the signs that we have below.
Prepare a Plan For Illness In Your Family
We can socially distance ourselves, we can wash our hands, clean our houses and do all that we can do, but sometimes things are beyond our control and someone in our family gets sick. It’s important to have a plan of what to do if this were to happen. Here are a few suggestions:
- Stay at home and call your healthcare provider and let them know about your/their symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed. It can also keep you from being around other people who are ill.
- Keep in contact with your healthcare provider to know when symptoms require a trip to the hospital.
- If you need to head to the hospital, have your healthcare provider call ahead to let them know you’re coming in with a high risk child. They may be able to get you in quicker or have you wait in a place where you’re not exposed to others.
- Have competent childcare planned out incase you are ill and need to leave your high risk child with someone else or, if you need to go with your high risk child and have other children.
- We experienced this the hard way when I required an emergency C-section with #2 in the middle of the night 2 months earlier than planned. We were hard pressed to find someone who knew how to take care of the special needs of our daughter
Supporting Those With High Risk Children & Individuals
You might not have a high risk child or individual in your home but want to be considerate and aware of those who do around you. To you we say THANK YOU! It is by the cooperation of all that will help limit the spread of COVID-19, especially to those who are high risk.
For people with high risk kids, sometimes we just feel like crawling into a hole and not coming out until the craziness has subsided. This can be a lonely stressful road. Even though we choose to self isolate and socially distance ourselves, we still want to know we are not forgotten.
Here are a few things you can do to support those with high risk children and individuals in their families:
- Check in by phone or text to see how they’re doing or if they need anything. A little thought goes a long way, especially in a stressful time
- If you’d like to stop by please check in ahead of time and don’t be offended if they don’t let you in their house
- Don’t be offended if they say no to play dates or getting together
- Don’t buy all of the medical supplies out, or share yours
- Many people with medically complex children or children with chronic conditions require masks, gloves and other materials daily to perform procedures to keep their kids healthy and safe. Can you imagine calling to order your monthly supplies only to hear that you can’t get what you need because your provider is rationing them due to a shortage?
In the end, we are all in this together. We have the chance to support each other and make it through this uncertain time together. Let’s do our best to think about those around us and take advantage of the time we have with our families now!