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What you need to know if your child gets COVID-19

The Chief Medical Officer at Johns Hopkins All Children's has the answers to some important questions.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As COVID-19 case numbers rise, one disturbing trend is the significant spike in young children who are getting the virus. 

Just last week Johns Hopkins All Children's in St. Pete saw its highest number of positive patients since the pandemic began. Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joseph Perno, says this is a disturbing, but a not surprising trend for a few reasons. 

"We have a population that is largely not eligible for the vaccine and those that are, we haven't seen a high penetration with teens in the vaccinations. We have loosened up our masking and our social distancing, which we know was very very effective and then you throw on there the predominant variant of Covid right now which is the Delta variant, which is highly contagious."

Dr. Perno says if your child does get COVID-19, the biggest thing you need to watch for is breathing issues.

"If they're wheezing, if they're breathing fast, looks like they're running a race even though they're just sitting there on your lap. If they're sucking in around their ribs, what we call retractions. Those are signs they're working hard to breathe and you probably need to come see us."

Here on some other questions Dr. Perno answered if you think your child may have COVID-19: 

  • What symptoms will my child have? They could have a fever, runny nose, cough, diarrhea. COVID-19 will likely show symptoms similar to many other viruses.
  • When should I get my child tested? If they are showing symptoms and/or you know there has been an exposure or possible exposure to Covid. You do not need to get them tested if you are willing to keep them quarantined at home for 7 days.
  • Where should I have my child tested? Call you pediatrician and if they aren't set up to do it, they can recommend a place to take your child. 

RELATED: Where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida

  • How do I treat COVID-19 at home? Treat the symptoms. If your child has a fever, try Tylenol. If they are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, give them fluids like sports drinks or Pedialyte. If they are having trouble breathing, use a humidifier or either suction the nose or have them blow it.
  • What would be a sign to take my child to the ER? Dr. Perno says, "If they're wheezing, if they're breathing fast, looks like they're running a race even though they're just sitting there on your lap. If they're sucking in around they're ribs, what we call retractions. Those are signs they're working hard to breath and you probably need to come see us." Also, watch for signs of dehydration. 
  • What should I watch for after my child recovers? Multisystem Inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C. This can happen anytime from 2-6 weeks after your child has recovered from Covid. It is an overwhelming inflammatory response by the body. If this happens, you should take your child to the ER for evaluation.

RELATED: Hospital sees post-holiday surge in MIS-C cases, syndrome linked with COVID-19

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