While more adults have been sick with COVID-19 compared to children, kiddos can still become infected with the coronavirus, face illness, as well as disseminate the virus to others. They can be affected by inhaling droplets (from the coughs or sneezes) of infected individuals. While infection through contaminated surfaces is a possibility, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have noted that this transmission isn’t as likely. Children and adults alike who possess COVID-19, albeit indicate no symptoms (known as “asymptomatic”) are still capable of spreading the virus to others.
Recently, the CDC recommended that children 12 years of age and older should receive the COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Pfizer-BioNTech. However, that still leaves children younger than 12 vulnerable and susceptible to transmitting the virus.
Below we highlighted areas where you’ll want to be cognizant of making prudent choices when it comes to safe activities for your children during the remainder of pandemic.
Generally speaking, playgrounds may appear as a relatively safe activity during the pandemic. However, there are some complicated components to consider when visiting public parks with youngsters.
Dr. Ada Stewart, a family physician with Cooperative Health in South Carolina, and the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians explained that playgrounds are, “A great opportunity to get families together and be outside and enjoy, but do so in a safe way.”
Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN Medical Analyst, and emergency physician, cautioned caretakers to, “Avoid (indoor playgrounds) for the time being because all the individuals there, the children, are not going to be vaccinated. Outdoor playgrounds are actually very safe.”
Dr. Wen continued, ”However, if a large group of kids come over to the same piece of equipment that my son is on and they’re not wearing masks, I would pull him at that point.”
Another facet to think about is that kids usually aren’t as hygienic and cautious as adults typically are. Although there is an extremely low rate of surface transmission, particularly among the youngest children, they are known to frequently put their hands in their mouths. In this case, not only could COVID-19 be transmitted, but so could other organisms via high-touch surfaces.
If your child is taking part in youth sports this summer, while the pandemic is still very much relevant, consider these measures in an effort to lower the risk of spreading the virus.
• Ensure that the sports and recreation activities your kids will participate in are approved by local and state government.
• Familiarize yourself with current safety rules for participation during the pandemic, and communicate them with your child.
• All athletes should turn in an updated sports physical before they participate in practices and games.
• All children involved within the athletics should wear their own face mask, towel and water bottles, as well as diligently use hand sanitizer.
Before practice or games, athletes should:
• Stay home if they’re feeling ill, or have any symptoms of COVID-19. If their pediatrician recommends it, they should also get a test.
• Cleanse with soap and water, or sanitize hands prior to arrival.
• Avoid gathering in large groups before the activity begins, and maintain social distancing when possible.
Just this week, the CDC recommended continued use of face masks and maintaining physical distancing at schools in the United States. Students from kindergarten through grade 12 should follow these guidelines through the remainder of the 2021 school year.
The C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said during a media interview, “Our school guidance to complete the school year will not change.”
Stay tuned for our upcoming Auxo Medical blog post where we will explore how alcohol consumption has played a role during the pandemic.