During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, kids with special health care needs still need routine care. But how they get it might change. Some routine visits are being canceled, or done over the phone or through telehealth. Here's more on what to expect during this challenging time.
Are Kids With Special Health Needs More at Risk From COVID-19?
Few kids have been found to have the illness. So it's hard for experts to yet know how COVID-19 might affect kids with ongoing health problems. The best bet is to be safe and follow the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes important steps to avoid infection, such as:
Should I Take My Child to Planned Health Care Visits?
Talk to your health care provider. Many doctor's offices are rescheduling appointments or using telehealth. If you haven't heard yet, call the office to find out. Some in-person visits might be needed. If so, talk to the office about how they are keeping kids and families safe. The medical staff will likely be wearing masks. You and your child might need to wear them also. Let your child know he or she is safe and there's no reason to be scared.
Should I Keep Giving My Child's Regular Daily Medicines?
Yes. Keep giving all regular daily medicines unless the care team tells you to stop. The best way to keep kids healthy is to take care of their health condition. Being in their best health will make it easier for kids to get better from coronavirus if they do get the infection.
Keep at least 2–3 weeks of medicine and other needed supplies on hand at all times. Work with your insurance and home medical supply companies to order refills well before they run out.
Should My Child Still Get Chemotherapy or Other Medicines That Affect the Immune System?
Yes. Continue chemotherapy or any other medicines that can lower the immune system until you talk to the care team. Only stop medicines if the care team tells you to. Follow guidelines on how to prevent infection, including staying home and washing hands well and often.
Should Home Health Care Providers Still Come to the House? How Can I Keep Everybody Safe?
Home health care providers play an important role in caring for some kids with special health needs. Talk with your care team about your child's in-home care providers. Ask if they're all needed now. Any care provider who is sick shouldn't help care for your child. Ask care providers to wash their hands well for at least 20 seconds when they arrive, and often while they provide care. Set up hand-washing stations with plenty of soap and paper towels. Keep hand sanitizer close by as well. Post signs as reminders to clean hands.
What if My Child Gets Sick? Could It Be COVID-19?
First, call the health care team. They know your child's health history and will know if your child has any special risks. The doctor will ask how your child is doing and if they've been around someone with known or suspected coronavirus. Your doctor's office will tell you what to do next and whether you need an in-person visit.
How Can We Handle Stress While Caring for Our Child With Special Needs?
- Control what you can. Structure your day with a routine.
- Try to focus on being in the moment with mindfulness, guided imagery (look for videos online), or yoga.
- Talk a walk outside if you can keep a safe distance from others. Or do active things inside.
- Keep in touch with your child's care team so you do not feel alone.
- Go easy on yourself. Do your best to manage what you can. Things will get better.
- If you feel stressed, get support from family. A phone call or a video visit can go a long way. If you are feeling overwhelmed, call 911. You also can call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or go to their website.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is making people sick with flu-like symptoms. Read this article to learn how to protect your family, and to know when to call your doctor.Read More
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: What to Do if Your Child Is Sick
There's still much to learn about COVID-19. Still, parents wonder what to do if their child gets sick during the pandemic. Here's what doctors say to do if your child has coronavirus symptoms.Read More
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Helping Kids With Autism Cope
Adjusting to new routines during the coronavirus pandemic is stressful for everyone, but especially for children with autism who have trouble with change. Here's how parents can help.Read More
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Home Care & Precautions
Anyone who is sick — even if they don't know for sure they have coronavirus (COVID-19) — should stay home unless they need medical care. This helps prevent the illness from spreading to others.Read More
Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child
Your kids are hearing about coronavirus (COVID-19). To make sure they get reliable information, here's how to talk about it.Read More
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Keeping Kids Busy
Families everywhere are staying home to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). These tips can help you make the best of your time together.Read More
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Social Distancing With Children
Now that coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading through communities in many countries, the best way to fight this spread is for everyone to practice social distancing. Here's what that means.Read More
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Pregnancy FAQs
We're learning more every day about coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some answers to questions about coronavirus and pregnancy.Read More
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Your Questions Answered
We're learning more about coronavirus (COVID-19) every day. Here are answers to some questions you may have about symptoms, care, and protecting your family.Read More
Support for Parents of Kids With Special Needs
You might have more on your plate than most parents, but it doesn't mean you have to do it all alone. Here's how to ask for help and avoid caregiver burnout.Read More
Finding Respite Care for Your Child With Special Needs
Finding that perfect person to care for your child can be a challenge. These resources can help.Read More
Special Needs: Planning for Adulthood (Video)
With info on financial and health care benefits to employment and housing options, this video series can help you plan for your child's future.Read More
Why Are People Wearing Face Masks?
You might think face masks are mostly for the operating room. But during the coronavirus outbreak, you might see more people wearing them. Here's why.Read More