According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 80% of children in the US are not visiting their paediatricians during this lockdown. The issue is not just limited to missing appointments, but, children are also missing vaccines. In the first week of April, the number of vaccines administered has dropped by 40% compared to the first week of February. These vaccines are for diseases such as mumps, measles, HPV and whooping cough.
The AAP, representing 67,000 paediatricians across the U.S., is reminding parents that the annual visits and must not stop during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to experts, there are a few things that parents must keep in mind for their children during this pandemic. These include:
This is not the period to skip visits
Experts believe that, though there is a fear of the coronavirus, but children can face more issues if not visited the paediatrician regularly. Parents must realize that there are many regular issues that crop up in children and it is essential to get the routine exams done. This is especially necessary in children with chronic illnesses like asthma and diabetes, as the coronavirus can exacerbate these diseases. Children must also not miss their routine immunization and vaccines as that can result in another outbreak.
Increase the use of technology
With telehealth and virtual visits, children can see their doctors and can go later to get their actual physical visit done. If there is a need, the paediatrician will call in the office. But it is essential to call the paediatrician and they will inform you if it is safe to visit.
Talk about the coronavirus to children
Even if the children are young, they understand that there are issues going on. It is essential to ask them what they know about the virus and confirm whether the information they have is correct. If children seem to be scared about the situation, it is essential to reassure them everything will be fine and that they are safe. This is also the right time to teach them hygiene and the importance of washing hands. They also need to learn about the importance of not touching their face.
In a pandemic situation, it is also essential to understand that children can get COVID-19 and any symptom means a visit to the doctor.