If you have lots of questions about COVID-19 you’re in good company. Here are some of the most common questions parents ask us.
TO QUARANTINE OR NOT TO QUARANTINE? … That is often the question.
- If not vaccinated, your child should stay home for 10 days after their last exposure OR after receiving a negative test at 5-7 days. Your child must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND other COVID symptoms are improving.
- If fully vaccinated OR had COVID within the previous 3 months AND recovered with no symptoms, your child does not need to quarantine. Your child should be tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask for 14 days.
Quarantine guidance is pretty cut and dry. But there’s another question that must be answered first that is a lot more complicated.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD WAS EXPOSED TO COVID-19?… That’s the other question!
“We visited Aunt Katie on Sunday. She tested positive on Thursday. Does my child have to stay home from school?”
“We were at an outdoor birthday party with a bunch of children and adults. No one was wearing masks. The father of the birthday girl was diagnosed with COVID the next day. Does my child have to quarantine?
Parents call us every day asking questions like these. We defer to the CDC and other evidence-based sites for the answers to “Was my child exposed?”
You typically need to be in close contact with a person with COVID-19 to get infected. Close contact includes:
- Living in the same household as a person with COVID-19.
- Caring for a sick person with COVID-19.
- Being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
- Being in direct contact with secretions from a person sick with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).
- Being in close contact (as described above) in the 48 hours before a person with COVID-19 developed symptoms.
If you child hasn’t been in close contact with a person who you know had COVID-19, your child is at low risk, but not zero risk, of infection. Your child can continue to go to school.
WHAT IF MY CHILD WAS IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WITH COVID-19 BUT ISN’T SICK?
Even if your child isn’t sick, they should not go to school. Follow the quarantine guidelines above based on your child’s vaccination status.
WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP THE VIRUS FROM SPREADING TO OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS?
Here’s where it gets tricky. For older children who are ok isolating from the family that is the best bet. As much as possible, your child should stay in a specific room and away from others in the home. If possible, it’s best for your child to use a separate bathroom. Wearing a face covering when around others is also recommended.
For children who are too young or for whom it would not be appropriate to isolate, everyone over 2 years of age in the household should wear a mask. Everyone should wash hands often, and cover coughs and sneezes.
MY CHILD TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
We recommend that you treat for comfort as you would if your child had the flu: fever management, lots of fluids and rest. While rare in children, watch for difficulty breathing which might look like flaring nostrils and belly breathing.
WHEN SHOULD I CALL FOR GUIDANCE?
If your child isn’t drinking or has decreased urination, difficulty breathing, wheezing, extreme fatigue or other worrisome symptoms call our office, 941-552-8341.
Please call us if you have concerns that can’t wait until the office reopens and before you consider going to an Urgent Care or Emergency Room. We know your child best and can provide personalized guidance that emergency facilities cannot. Just call the office number and follow the prompts to reach the on-call provider. We’re available 24/7 when the office is closed.