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Living with Young Children and COVID-19 Risk

My daughter and two young grandchildren have been living with us for the past week while they move from Georgia to Arizona. It has been impossible to socially isolate with the grandkids living with us (I am sure every grandparent can relate) so we have been hoping/praying that they are virus-free. I have also been trying to stay up to date on all information related to COVID-19 and babies and young children. Unfortunately, we still don’t know much about the virus and its impact, particularly the long-term impact on children. We do know that babies and young children are just as susceptible to the virus as adults but confirmed COVID-19 cases have generally shown milder symptoms. That’s good news, but there have been severe cases reported and several deaths.

We know this virus can impact the central nervous system. There have been many reported cases where infected individuals have lost their sense of smell and taste as well as other more serious brain-related consequences. There is just so much we don’t know at this time and we need to be concerned about how the virus may be impacting a baby or child’s brain during these early critical brain development periods.

We need to do everything we can to protect ourselves as caregivers and our young children. In our case, we couldn’t isolate from our grandchildren now living with us, so we needed to find solutions that could both work with young children and provide some level of protection from virus transfer. The CDC has a web page with recommendations aimed at reducing exposure with young children, but we found that following their guidelines was more than a small challenge. The phrase "No plan survives the first encounter with the enemy" comes to mind. In our case, it was "No COVID-19 protection plan survives the first contact with our grandchildren." In my next blog, I will discuss some of the challenges we faced and hopefully provide both some solutions and a bit of humor.

Dr. Fox

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