This COVID stuff can be VERY confusing!!! We are here to help!

COVID is sure on the rise in the pediatric population.  Studies show a 1,400% increase in pediatric cases since the end of June 2021.  Marion County is definitely feeling that increase.

What are the symptoms of COVID Delta Variant in children?

  • Symptoms vary, but most of the cases we are seeing involve fever, headache, nasal congestion and sore throat
  • Delta variant COVID is less likely to cause loss of taste and smell
  • Cough occurs later in the course of disease or not at all
  • GI symptoms (vomiting/diarrhea) are rare with the delta variant

What do I do if my child gets COVID?

  • COVID is a virus. Children seem to be better at naturally fighting off this virus that adults can.
  • Tylenol or Ibuprofen for fever
  • REST!
  • Increase in fluid intake

You should seek emergency attention or call the office ASAP if your child develops:

  • Trouble breathing or persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Inability to arouse or difficulty staying awake or confusion
  • Pale or gray-blue colored skin

What if my child has asthma or another respiratory disease?

  • Make sure to always have inhalers at home that are not expired. This is a great thing to discuss at your child’s yearly wellness visit.  If you need a refill, simply call the office.  Most COVID positive children have NOT been wheezing.

What about antibiotics, namely Zithromax?

  • There are now good studies on the use of Zithromax (or, Z-pack, or Azithromycin) to treat COVID.
  • There is no benefit of treating COVID patients with an antibiotic, like Zithromax. It does not change the outcome in COVID patients at all and can increase the risk of diarrhea.
  • However, any virus can cause a SECONDARY bacterial infection and may require antibiotics, for example, ear infections, sinus infections or pneumonias. If you are concerned about any of these in your child, please call the office.

How do I get my child tested for COVID?

There is a difference between a SCREENING test and a DIAGNOSTIC test.

SCREENING TESTS

Screening tests are used to determine if you have disease before you really have symptoms.  Screening COVID tests are used to determine if you should quarantine after being exposed to the virus.  There are many sites in Marion County that perform screening tests.  Our office DOES NOT do screening tests for routine COVID clearance.

  • CVS Minute Clinics (3 years and above)
  • Walgreens drive-thru (3 years and above)
  • NONA Scientific Labs (infants and above)
  • Southeastern Livestock Pavilion on Mondays and Wednesdays until Sept. 30th, in-vehicle, from 8am to 2pm (352-644-2590).

DIAGNOSTIC TESTS

  • 1. At home testing: IF your child is SYMPTOMATIC (mostly with fever), the at-home testing is about 72% accurate.  If you test at home without symptoms, then the test is only 56% accurate.  This is because the viral particles are more abundant when you are symptomatic or have a fever.  Thus, if your child is exhibiting symptoms of COVID and you do an at-home test and it is positive, then your child most likely has COVID and will need to quarantine for 10 days.
  • 2. In-office Respiratory Panel testing: Our office has a Respiratory test (nasal swab) that includes a panel of viruses that can be used to help diagnose your child.  If your child meets criteria for this test, then it is very sensitive and specific. This test is NOT a tool for COVID clearance and is used at the discretion of the provider.
  • *If someone in your household or family is positive for COVID and your child develops any of the above symptoms, please do not make an appointment in our office for your child.  Your child needs to be quarantined and it can be assumed that he/she has COVID.  We need to keep our office as safe as possible for the newborns, infants and other immunocompromised patients.  Thank you for your understanding.

  • 3. Outside laboratory testing: NONA Scientific (infants and above), CVS and Walgreens (3 yo and above) and the Livestock Pavilion (put on by the Marion County Health Department) all offer accurate COVID testing.  You can make an appointment online for CVS and Walgreens.  NONA Scientific no longer needs a prescription or an appointment for COVID testing.  See above for Livestock Pavilion information.

When should I get my child tested and when can they go back to school and work?

This is a VERY good question! Pediatric Associates is following the CDC guidelines.  Please see below:

FULLY VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS
EXPOSURE/CLOSE CONTACT* to someone who tested POSITIVE for COVID

*More than 15 min, less than 6 feet apart

No quarantine UNLESS develops symptoms Return to work/school:

  • After 14 days quarantine if asymptomatic
  • After 7 days if receiving a negative test that is performed on day #5 or later of the quarantine
COVID POSITIVE with symptoms Quarantine for 10 days

  • Must be fever-free to return to school/work
  • Start of symptoms is Day zero
Quarantine for 10 days

  • Must be afebrile to return to school/work
  • Start of symptoms is Day zero
COVID POSITIVE without symptoms Quarantine for 10 days since the positive test Quarantine for 10 days since the positive test

When Should My Child be Seen?

  • For Upper Respiratory Symptoms (runny nose, cough, congestion, headache, sore throat, or fever): Symptoms should be present for at least for 24 hours. Physical exam findings and diagnostic tests are more accurate after 24-48 hours of symptoms. Testing prior to this may result in false negative results. We are not currently testing any individuals who have had symptoms for less than 24 hours.
  • If your child has any respiratory distress or labored breathing, your child needs to be seen right away, likely through the ER if we do not have any immediate openings or if it is after normal office hours.
  • If your child has had a positive contact and remains without symptoms, they do NOT need an appointment. We cannot provide screening COVID testing at our office.
  • If your child has had a positive contact AND symptoms for greater than 48 hours AND you have concerns for other secondary infections other than COVID (such as ear infections or pneumonia), we are happy to see your child to evaluate them further and test if indicated.
  • If your child has tested positive at home and you need or want a confirmatory PCR test, but there is no concern for secondary infection, please refer to one of our recommended outside testing sites.