To our patients and their families,
We are sure most of you have been following the news closely about the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) and its impact on our world. The World Health Organization has officially labeled COVID-19 a pandemic. We hope you know that your child’s health is our primary goal. We are so appreciative that you have chosen CMG to care for your precious ones.
The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. We will do our best to keep our website updated with new information and recommendations. We will be following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as well as those sent out from the Texas Department of State Health Services. If you are ever in doubt, please visit these websites.
Here are answers to some common questions:
For now, it seems that cases in children are relatively mild. The literature out of China has shown there to be very few deaths in children infected, even among those with complex medical needs. COVID-19 presents as a flu-like illness, with fever, congestion and cough.
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. We treat it similarly to other viral illnesses with supportive care just like we would for the common cold. Supportive care includes fluids, rest, and tylenol/ ibuprofen as needed for fever and comfort.
We do not think tamiflu works. There is nothing that can be prescribed to make it resolve more quickly or be less likely to spread. We encourage covering coughs and washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to prevent spread. Avoid others if possible. Many antivirals are currently under investigation. We will do our best to keep you posted on this area of development.
Sadly, we cannot. Given the sheer volume of requests, the health department has asked that testing be limited to the very ill. They would consider performing tests for children with fever, cough, travel to a high risk area (currently zone 2 or 3 on the CDC map) or direct contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Again, these criteria are changing weekly so we will let you know if this changes. You can also follow through the Texas Health department website.
Please do NOT come to the clinic if you really think your child may have COVID-19. Most children can be cared for at home. Trying to keep COVID-19 out of our clinic will protect our other patients and staff. Again, COVID-19 should be rather mild in children. We also have no way to test your child in the office or prescribe any specific medications.
We are ALWAYS here to give phone advice about what else may be different or special about your child. We are also exploring the option of doing telemedicine to triage and assess your child to decide what next steps need to occur. More information on this to come.
Ill patients should be treated and evaluated. The Emergency Departments are better equipped to handle sick children with COVID-19. This includes patients with difficulty breathing and those with moderate to severe dehydration. We recommend going to Dell Children’s Medical Center ER or the pediatric ER at North Austin Medical Center.
This virus thrives in the respiratory tract, similar to influenza. Our patients with asthma are at risk of having an asthma attack if they were to contract COVID-19. If your child has mild intermittent asthma, they will not be on a controller medication and will just need to use their albuterol as needed. If your child has moderate to severe asthma, please keep your child on his/her regular prescribed preventative medication for the foreseeable future.
Deciding to travel is a personal risk of encountering disease, with coronavirus or influenza. We advise following the CDC recommendations for travel. Any destination labeled a level 2 or 3 is strongly discouraged. Currently that includes China, Iran, Japan, most of Europe, and South Korea. This includes layovers in these areas as well.
For those who choose to travel, we encourage families to be smart and take proper precautions.
Unfortunately, we cannot write notes to refund travel fees or airfare due to fears over COVID-19. This is up to the discretion of the airline.
We will do our best to keep COVID-19 out of the clinic. We want to keep your child as healthy as possible when they come and see us. We thoroughly clean rooms between patients, which includes disinfecting all surfaces. We also have a cleaning service that provides a deep clean each night.
We have also temporarily removed all books and toys from our waiting area and exam rooms. Families are welcome to bring their own toys and books when visiting CMG.
We hope this helps answer some of your questions. We will start keeping our website more up to date with recent changes. We are learning more every day and expect things to continue to change rapidly.
Stay safe and wash your hands!
Children’s Medical Group
Dr. Bell, Dr. Dodson, and Dr. McConnell