What You Need to Know About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
What is COVID-19?
The COVID-19 virus (also commonly known as Coronavirus) has been circling the news, social media, and conversations in the last few weeks. As you are probably already aware, the virus started in China and has spread to numerous countries including Japan, S. Korea, Italy, Iran and the US.
What Parents Need to Know
As far as our patients are concerned, the virus seems to be very mild in children. The CDC put out a report earlier this week that children seem to have mild upper respiratory symptoms. At this time, we are unaware of any reports that children have died from this illness (to compare- 125 children have died from influenza this season alone). The average number of flu cases in the US alone is 60 million whereas there have been about 90 thousand cases of COVID-19 throughout the world. Our phone nurses have been fielding many calls regarding this, and we are recommending reassurance to families that their kids aren’t at risk.
There have been a few reported cases of COVID 19 in the US and one who didn’t have known contact with someone at risk. The CDC is putting out daily updates on the virus and is concerned that it could become more widespread. Please be assured that the Colorado State Department of Health and Larimer County and Weld County Departments of Health will notify us of cases in Colorado as they are identified.
As cases are identified in Colorado, we will be asking our patients’ families specific questions to identify if they or their children are at risk of being infected by this virus. If they are at risk, we will follow recommendations of the CDC and the Colorado State Department of Health as to how to proceed with their care.
Many are concerned about an epidemic of COVID-19 occurring in the US. We would like to remind everyone that we have been in the midst of an epidemic of influenza for the past 3 months and we have all done well. Influenza will always be more dangerous to the world than COVID 19 will be.
The CDC put out a review of the rate of illness from the COVID-19. They found that the risk for people living in the home of documented COVID-19 cases in the US had a 10% chance of developing the illness. The risk for all potential exposures to documented cases was less than ½ of 1% (0.45%). To give perspective on this, the infection rate of people exposed to chickenpox by family members approaches 90% We need to continue to have perspective on the COVID-19. It will be a problem, but it likely won’t be the problem that the media is predicting.
How Can We Reduce Risk?
General recommendations for all of us during the sick season are to keep our fingers out of our noses, hands away from our faces, clean our hands frequently with hand sanitizer or with washing and keep areas clean where patients and families have been by using cleansing agents on countertops, phones and computers.
We will be sending out intermittent updates about the COVID-19 virus and our response plans as things progress. If you have questions about the virus or about our process in responding to its potential effects on our community, please let us know. We will be happy to address questions to the best of our ability.
Lastly, please realize that this virus may have started in China, but it could have begun anywhere. We need to be culturally sensitive to our peers and clients who are Asian. There have been reports of mistreatment of people of Asian descent throughout the country due to fears of the COVID-19 virus. We are all on this hurtling orb called Earth and all have the same hopes desires and fears. A little gentleness and compassion will go a long way at a time like this.
If you have questions about the virus or how to reduce risk during the sick season please contact Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado at 970.494.2626
Additional information can be found on this fact sheet from the CDC and this frequently asked questions document.
Warning Signs of the Flu
Although we’re starting to see some warmer weather days here in Northern Colorado, winter and cold & flu season is still with us. Knowing the warning signs of the flu can help get your child they help they need before anything gets too severe because no one likes to see their little one sick. While most symptoms are similar to adults, there are a few differences parents should be aware of.
Fever: While it’s typical for almost all individuals with the flu to have a fever, children can tend to have higher fevers than adults which can be as high as 103° – 105°. Fevers can also cause chills and shivering as a side effect.
Body Aches & Headaches: The flu can cause severe body aches and headaches, which may be difficult for your child to explain or describe to you. Listen for signs from your child such as, “it hurts all over”, which might explain what they are feeling.
Coughing and/or Chest Pain: Coughing can be a very common flu symptom for both children and adults. Coughs can range from being dry to very moist and wet. Something to pay close attention to is if you hear a whistling or wheezing at the end of the cough. This may be a sign that your child may be having breathing problems, so make sure you visit your health care provider to make sure everything is okay.
Congestion: While some children may experience this at a higher degree than others, it’s an important symptom to look out for. Often times if congestion from the flu goes untreated it can potentially lead to ear infections and/or sinus infections.
Vomiting & Diarrhea: While neither of these are very common in adults with the flu, they can be very common in children with the flu. While the stomach flu can also have these symptoms, stomach flu will generally not be accompanied by symptoms such as coughing or congestion.
It is also important to note that many of these symptoms can overlap with symptoms of the common cold. Not sure what your child might have? Check out our post on knowing what the difference is between a cold and the flu.
If you’re concerned that your child may have the flu, be sure to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider right away or come see us during our extended hours to make sure your child gets the health care they need.
Tips for Managing Your Child’s Asthma This Spring
Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner here in Northern Colorado and although we still have snow on the ground, temperatures are beginning to rise and warmer days are on their way! If your child has asthma, however, this can be a tough time as pollen counts rise which can lead to more intense asthma symptoms. Keep reading for our tips for helping to manage your child’s asthma this spring.
Have a plan and stick to it
One of the hardest parts of having a child with asthma, is you’re never 100% sure when a flare-up might happen. Reduce this fear by creating an “Asthma Action Plan”, which outlines what exact steps need to be done if an asthma attack occurs. Work with your doctor to understand what steps need to be included and make sure everyone is on the same page. Share this plan with any adult in your child’s life who might need to know these steps. This can include teachers, baby sitters, coaches, etc. Ensure they understand what steps need to be taken in case you aren’t there.
Identify & Avoid Triggers
By understanding what triggers your child’s asthma, and knowing how to avoid these triggers, this can be a large part in avoiding asthma flare-ups. Common triggers can include pollen and mold, weather changes, viral infections, irritants such as tobacco smoke or some cleaning products, exercise, etc. Keep an asthma diary that tracks activities and flare-ups and get a much better understanding of what is causing attacks, so you can know to avoid in the future.
Take all medications as prescribed
If your child has asthma, you’ve likely worked with your doctor to understand which medicines are the best fit for your child. Understand the difference between daily medications which are going to be long-term control treatment and quick-relief medications that act fast to treat the flare-up. Take these medications on a regular schedule and ensure that if your child does need an inhaler, that they carry it with them at all times, or a trusted adult carries one with them at all times.
Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado is here to help with asthma attacks every day until 9:00 pm on the weekdays and 8:00 pm on the weekends. For any life-threatening emergencies, please call 911.
Why You Should Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands isn’t just good advice. It’s the best advice you and your family can follow to prevent illness on a daily basis. Not only is it tremendously effective in reducing the spread of germs, it’s so simple that even preschoolers can be taught to do it correctly. (We’ll talk about correctly later.)
Scientists estimate that there are more than 1,500 microorganisms per square inch on your hands. Similarly, germs can congregate anywhere people touch – from door knobs and shopping carts to your computer’s mouse and your favorite coffee mug. It’s easy for germs to piggyback from an object you touch, onto your hand and onto whatever you touch next.
Although nearly everyone understands the importance of washing up before cooking or eating, it’s just as important to give your hands a scrub throughout the day. Many people touch their eyes, mouth or nose without realizing it. From there, it’s easy for the bacteria, fungi and viruses to enter a body and make you sick.
When to Wash Your Hands
When in doubt, wash your hands! This instills habits in your family to always lather up after these activities where germ transmission is easiest:
- After using the restroom or changing a diaper
- Before and after preparing raw foods
- Before eating
- After blowing your nose
- After working in dirty environments, such as gardens, garages and basements
- After shopping trips
Wash Your Hands Correctly
Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t wash their hands correctly, with many people rushing it or skipping steps. To properly wash your hands, use warm water to wet your hands, including wrists and between fingers. After lathering your hands, rub them together for 20 seconds – about long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice – making sure to cover all surfaces with soap.
Wash your hands to prevent disease transmission and keep your family safe. An extra 30 seconds at the sink can prevent days of illness!
5 Winter Activity Safety Tips
Before participating in outdoor winter activities, keep in mind these tips to help keep you safe and ready to take on the elements!
Cold muscles are more prone to injury, so make sure that you are properly stretching and that you are performing light warm-up exercises before you begin any outdoor winter activity!
Check Your Equipment
Be sure to check all of your equipment to ensure it is in good condition and fits properly. This includes skis, ski poles, snowboards, bindings, sleds, snowshoes, skates and more. Ill-fitting or outdated equipment can cause accidents or injuries.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Multiple layers are strongly encouraged in the winter even though you are likely to warm up while performing your activity. Wear fabrics that provide the best insulation to keep you warm and are moisture-wicking to keep you dry.
Drink plenty of water before, during and after any activity. Inadequate water intake can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, and dizziness. This is just as important in the winter months as it is in the hot summer sun!
Even in cold temperatures, your skin can be damaged by the sun. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin. Remember to put this on your face, lips, and neck since those are the areas that are most likely exposed in the winter.
For more winter-weather related tips, read our blog about practicing safe snow days!
Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado is ready to help repair any winter activity-related accidents every day until 9:00 pm on the weekdays and 8:00 pm on the weekends!
Introducing Miss Hap
As parents, we know that there will always be little mishaps in life. Whether it is taking a tumble or scraping a knee, our little ones can always find their way into less than happy situations.
Meet Miss Hap! This little ball of energy is here to walk you through the various mishaps you might experience with your own little ones. In the coming months, we are going to follow Miss Hap around through her adventures and remind parents how to keep their kiddos safe and healthy.
Topics we will cover:
- Kitchen Safety
- Allergic reactions
- Injury Prevention
- Illness Awareness
- And More!
No matter the mishap, our expert and kid-friendly staff can help your child get back to feeling better. Stay tuned for more helpful information and to follow Miss Hap on her journey through childhood on Facebook and Instagram!
Avoiding Illness on Vacation
It’s a parent’s nightmare: You save for months, spend hours planning and tie up a zillion loose ends before going on vacation. Then on the second day of your trip, your child comes down with an illness. While it’s impossible to avoid sickness altogether, travelers can adopt strategies for avoiding illness on vacation.
Know the risk factors that expose you to germs – often germs you don’t encounter at home – and minimize them. While children’s immune systems usually aren’t as strong as adults’, you can reduce losing time to illness while you’re on vacation by:
- Wash your hands: It’s always good advice, but frequently washing your hands while on the road is extra important. While bottles of sanitizer are a good backup, they don’t replace soap and water. Wash frequently, wash often.
- Change clothes after air travel: Airplanes are an incubator for germs, and avoiding exposure to your fellow travellers’ germs is difficult. Minimize your family’s risk by bathing and changing into fresh clothes as soon as you’re in your hotel room.
- Drink bottled water: When traveling abroad, particularly to Mexico or Latin America, avoid tap water, which can contain bacteria that causes stomach problems. Be wary of drinks that contain ice as well, as they’re often made with tap water.
- Don’t overdo it: Getting ready for a vacation can be stressful, with last-minute to-dos, late nights and hurried trips to the airport. Likewise, it’s easy to want to cram as much as possible into each day. That’s a great way to weaken immune systems. Avoid overextending yourself or your kids before or during your trip.
- Consult your doctor: Are you headed to an exotic locale? Talk with your doctor about precautions and other strategies based upon your destination.
Avoiding illness on vacation does require a bit of luck in avoiding being exposed to germs. That doesn’t mean you can’t stack the deck in your favor and adopt habits that extend your chances of staying healthy.
Spring Break Safety Tips
Spring break is just around the corner! If you’re traveling with the kids, don’t forget to check “Travel Vaccinations” off your to-do list. Our sister company, The Youth Clinic, offers Travel Clinics to help make sure you and your family enjoy a worry-free vacation.
If this is your first time traveling with your kids, you may not know that travel vaccinations are actually an essential part of holiday planning, especially if you’re heading to an exotic destination or somewhere “off the beaten path.” While many travel vaccines are targeted towards diseases typically found in the tropics, travel emergencies can happen anywhere. Please note, different countries have different health risks and may require specific vaccines. It’s important to let your physician know where you are traveling to so you can both plan accordingly.
The Youth Clinic Travel Clinics
- Comprehensive & individualized assessment of travel itinerary & health history
- Any necessary travel immunizations & prophylaxis
- This includes: Hepatitis A, TdaP and Malaria
- Information on travel illnesses
- Advice on food & water safety
- Completion of any necessary travel paperwork
- Customized Travel Handbook & Travel Kit
We typically recommend getting the kids in at least six weeks prior to travel to ensure proper spacing of immunizations. If you are already within the six weeks, still give the Youth Clinic a call to schedule an appointment because you and your child will still benefit.
Spring Break Safety Tips & TRICKS
- If traveling by airplane, allow your family extra time to get through security. It’s better to get there early than rush or miss your flight!
- Consider having the kids wear shoes and outer layers of clothing that are easy to take off for security purposes.
- Check with your airline but they usually allow families to bring a child’s car safety seat as an extra luggage item at no extra charge.
- Be prepared: pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep the kids entertained, especially during long flights.
- Wash hands frequently and consider bringing hand sanitizer to prevent illness during travel.
- Always bring mosquito protection to countries where mosquito-borne diseases are present.
- Be mindful of what you eat and drink.
- Most rental car companies can arrange for a car safety seat if you are unable to bring your own.
- Do not touch animals such as monkeys, stray dogs or birds.
- Always wear a seatbelt, even in a taxi.
- If traveling by car, plan to stop driving to give yourself and the kids a break about every two hours.
- Never leave your child alone in a car, even for just a minute.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
For more information on The Youth Clinic Travel Clinics or to schedule an appointment, call 970-267-9510.
Practice Safe Snow Days with These Tips
Snow angels, snowmen and snowball fights are the ingredients for the perfect snow day! Prepare your little ones for fun and safe outdoor play this winter with these tips:
Layering is tricky. Too many and they’ll overheat; too few and they’ll freeze. The rule of thumb: Dress your kids in one more layer of clothing than you (an adult) would wear in the same weather.
With all the snow-fort building and snowball throwing, little hands will get cold and wet. Make sure to buy insulated and waterproof gloves and mittens.
Cold temperatures bring out coats and snow pants instead of bathing suits, but that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t in the sky. Snow reflects at least 80 percent of the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburns. Before sending your kiddos out in the cold, lather their faces in water-resistant sunscreen.
Before flying down a hill on a sled, take precautions. Make sure to choose well-sledded areas that are open and free of cars, trees, posts and rocks.
Exposing fingers, toes and ears to cold temperatures for long periods of time can cause frostbite. Review with your children the dangers of frostbite as well as the symptoms of it. For more information, check out our frostbite treatment tips.
Just like sunscreen, water is just as important during the winter months as it is in the summer. Kids and adults lose large amounts of water breathing in cold, chilly air. Keep water handy when playing in the snow!
Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado is ready to help repair your winter accidents every day until 9:00 pm on the weekdays and 8:00 pm on the weekends! If you have any questions on the severity of accidents we can repair versus the emergency room, check out this post or call us at 970-494-2626!
Fireplace Safety Tips
Lighting a fire on a snowy winter night is a great way to stay cozy. It’s an indulgence for many families, but it poses risks if there is little to no awareness of the hazards or ways to prevent them. Before cuddling up next to your crackling fire, brush up on these fireplace safety tips.
Clear the Area
Look above, below and next to your fireplace for objects that could catch fire, especially flammable ones. Keep all items at least two feet away to keep them from catching.
Remain in the Room
Never leave an active fire unsupervised. The fire can easily get out of hand and you will want to make sure your children are staying away from the open flames and hot surface!
The glass door on fireplaces doesn’t protect all from getting burned. Put up safety screens to provide a barrier between the hot glass and anyone near the fire.
Tools & Accessories
Brooms and pokers make fireplace management easy, but they look like toys to children. Store these items away to avoid accidents.
The materials used to build fireplaces like stone and marble are not soft. Make sure to keep an eye on your child while he or she is around the fireplace to prevent hard landings.
Teach your children the dangers of fires by creating and practicing a home fire escape plan. Make sure they feel confident in knowing where to go and what to do if a fire were to occur.
Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado is ready to help repair your fire-related accidents every day until 9:00 pm on the weekdays and 8:00 pm on the weekends! If you have any questions on the severity of accidents we can repair versus the emergency room, check out this post or call us at 970-494-2626!