School is out for the summer and distance learning is over! You may be wondering what summer activities are safe for your family in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and how you can best protect your children.
It may be tempting to start setting up summertime playdates for your kids who haven’t seen their friends in a while, but social distancing is still important. The CDC currently recommends against having in-person playdates with children from different households. If children are playing outside of their own homes, its essential that your children remain 6 feet apart from other children. A good rule of thumb is the fewer people your children are exposed to, the better.
Your kids have probably been cooped up in the house for a little while so encourage them to get outside and get active. It’s great for both their physical and mental health. You can plan some easy outdoor activities like running through the sprinkler or taking a walk as a family. Swimming and/or bike riding around your neighborhood can also be great sources of exercise as long as proper precautions are taken. While swimming, make sure your children are always supervised by an adult and ensure that they wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Before hitting the bike trails with your family, make sure everyone has a properly fitted helmet.
Some low contact summer sports are returning, such as baseball and softball. If your children are signed up for these sports, it’s important to have a conversation with them about maintaining distance in the dugout or on the bench, avoiding unnecessary touching and practicing proper hand hygiene before and after interacting with others.
You should also clean their sports equipment before and after every game and practice and try to limit shared equipment as much as possible. You can also consider adding clip on mini hand sanitizers to the equipment bags for ease of access.
Keep an eye out for your kids
You can protect your child throughout the summer by closely monitoring for signs of illness. This may include fever, flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, fatigue, or extreme fussiness. Children with coronavirus may only have mild symptoms or be entirely asymptomatic. However, some children may have complications that can be severe, such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a condition where different parts of the body can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidney and brain. While the exact underly causes of MIS-C are still unknown, according to the CDC, many children with MIS-C had the virus or were exposed to someone with COVID-19.
It’s also important to remember that your children can also spread COVID-19 to others who may be at higher risk, including their grandparents and those who are immune compromised.
Good clean summer fun
You can also help prevent the spread of coronavirus to your kids by routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects in your home, especially toys and games. This may also include cleaning objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops and chairs. While you’re at it, hand your child a cleaning wipe! You can use this opportunity to include your children in these daily routines and teach them the importance of keeping their spaces germ free.
Ochsner’s safe to return
If your child does get sick this summer or need medical attention, Ochsner is prepared to provide quality care in a safe environment. In addition to our existing ongoing safety procedures, we’ve added new measures to help keep your family well. In order to ensure a clean, safe environment for you child, there are a few things you can expect at your next pediatrician’s appointment.
- Social Distancing
Social distancing is still one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. When you come in for an appointment, there are multiple ways to minimize contact with those around you. Patients will maintain at least a 6-foot distance between each other. To practice social distancing, chairs and tables will be spaced out, acrylic shields will be placed over registration desks and there will be directions labeled via signs and on the floors to signify proper distances. Our staff will also practice social distancing unless it is necessary to come in closer contact for patient care.
- Masks and Temperature Checks on Arrival
When you enter a facility, you and your child will participate in a mandatory temperature check as well as be given a mask, if you did not bring yours, to wear over your nose and mouth. Children over the age of two will be asked to wear a mask along with their parent or guardian. Wearing the mask will help ensure your safety as well as others’ by limiting exposure of respiratory droplets, the means by which the virus spreads.
- Additional Hand Sanitizer Available
As you may have noticed from previous visits, automatic hand sanitizer stations are placed around all our facilities. To better accommodate the influx in hand sanitizer used by our patients and staff, we have increased the availability of hand sanitizer for our patients. We encourage you to sanitize before your visit, after meeting with your provider, after touching yourself or others, after using the restroom, before and after eating or drinking or after touching objects such as elevator buttons, pens or handrails.
- Regularly Cleaning All Public Areas
While our staff is always diligent about cleaning our facilities, we have increased the frequency each day that our staff cleans all public areas. Maintaining a clean environment is highly important to the health and well-being of our patients and staff.
Learn more about keeping your family healthy and making pediatrics appointments at Ochsner.
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.