Nov. 21 2021 Vol. 11: Your Kid Has COVID: Now What?

It’s important to remember that having a healthy kid doesn’t mean they never get sick. Despite our best efforts, sometimes COVID (and other sickness) makes it through our various lines of defense. And, if it does break through, this doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. Even in our boutique practice, particularly since Delta became the dominant strain this past July, more than a handful of parents have transmitted COVID to their kids, there have been peer-to-peer school transmissions, and we’ve also seen children transmit the virus to adults. 

In recent weeks in the Bay Area, COVID positivity and transmission rates have increased  despite vaccines now being available to everyone 5 years and over and relatively large uptake by our Bay Area community in general. In October, San Francisco hit a daily low of new cases at about 50, but as of the date of this newsletter it is averaging around 80 new cases per day. For this reason we continue to recommend using the same preventive measures you’ve implemented for months, including the steps to improve immune function below. And, what if your kid does test positive for COVID? The following article addresses ways to support your child’s recovery and prevent other family members from being infected.

COVID Testing
If your child has COVID symptoms or has tested positive for COVID on a rapid antigen test, schedule a PCR test to confirm the result. PCR test results have typically been available within 2 days of late. We offer rapid testing at GetzWell and we can also swab for PCR send-out analysis. Be sure to observe the requirements for quarantine while you’re waiting for the results–more on that below.

Note: If your child tests positive, you may receive a call from the Department of Public Health COVID team asking questions that relate to contact tracing, symptoms, and whether you have any particular needs that they can help address during the quarantine period.

Health Department Guidelines
The San Francisco Department of Public Health guidelines for isolation, quarantine, and how to count 10 days (you start with 0!) is here. There are different requirements depending on an individual’s vaccination status, symptoms, and exposure. Be sure to read carefully to determine which requirements apply in your family. If you have questions, please contact us so we can help guide you.

COVID Hygiene at Home
If all other family members are vaccinated, the chance of the infected child transmitting COVID to anyone else in the household is much, much lower than it would otherwise be. But, actions you can take to further lower the risk of transmission include:

  • Wearing KF94, KN95 or surgical masks indoors at home as much as possible until the end of the quarantine period or until the child tests negative on a rapid antigen test. If the child is too young or cannot tolerate wearing a mask, consider letting them go unmasked while other family members wear a mask.
  • Washing hands often and thoroughly; avoid sharing hand towels. 
  • Cleaning high-touch surfaces (soap and water or a vinegar solution both work great) and washing hand towels daily.
  • Keeping HEPA air purifiers/HVAC running and/or windows open to increase air quality and flow.
  • Maintaining distance between each other when eating meals (or taking turns eating meals).

Supporting COVID Recovery
The goal following a COVID infection is for your child to have a healthy, balanced immune response which can help effectively fight the infection while avoiding hospitalization for sepsis or MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children). 

Giving your child the following supplements may help support a balanced immune response and aid in speeding their recovery. Glutathione, quercetin, vitamin D3, zinc, elderberry and melatonin are some of the tools in our arsenal which have an evidence base. Contact us so we can personalize the dosing for your child.

Stick to (or adopt!) these strategies for staying healthy generally. In particular, avoid simple sugars and be sure to prioritize keeping your child’s gut healthy with plenty of filtered water, bone broths and soups, whole and fermented foods, and probiotics. A healthy gut may be one key to effectively fighting COVID and avoiding long haul symptoms.

Continue nasal washes twice a day (you cannot “overdo” it) with Xlear, Sterimar or Briotech.

Last but far from least, it is critical to manage anxiety and fear (and guilt). I’ll say it again: If your kid ends up getting COVID, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent and remember, most COVID infections in children are mild. First, get your own worries under control as quickly and effectively as possible. Next, reassure your child that despite all the scary things they’ve heard about COVID, they are strong and their body knows what to do to beat COVID. You can do box breathing with your child to ease anxiety and increase oxygen levels. You can also say healing mantras, like “My body is strong. My lungs are strong. I’m getting better and better every day.”

If your child’s symptoms worsen or become concerning, please contact us immediately.

Infection Prevention
In addition to vaccination and the above-mentioned home hygiene, consider the following steps to boost other family members’ immunity and minimize chances of infection:

  • Nasal irrigation (with Xlear or other) at least twice a day.
  • Take 3x your usual Vitamin D3 dose for 3 days, and then return to your normal dose.
  • Take 500 mg of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) or glutathione (on an empty stomach) daily.
  • Eat a rainbow of whole foods, including prebiotic and probiotic foods and stick to or adopt Dr. G’s strategies for staying fortified.

Keeping Kids Busy and Maintaining Your Sanity During Quarantine

Having lived through the last year and a half, you’ve got plenty of experience with the big feelings and challenging practicalities of being in lock-down, quarantine or sheltering-in-place. And you probably weren’t anticipating a COVID infection at this stage, either. Go easy on yourself if you find that your mental and emotional reserves feel depleted. Take everything day by day, and fit in some mood-lifting fun wherever you can. If you’re looking for additional ideas of fun activities with kids, take a look at this list.

As always, we are here to support you. We offer rapid PCR tests on short notice and we are ready to answer your questions and address your concerns regarding COVID and recovery from it. Don’t hesitate to contact us

Want to know more?

We are committed to providing the best pediatric care in the Bay Area. If you want to learn more about our practice, please contact us.