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Important: COVID-19 Testing, Booster, & Visitor Policy

GBMC Pediatrician Answers Questions from Parents

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Laura Zabriskie

March 20, 2020
*This is a rapidly changing situation. This interview was conducted on March 20, 2020. For the most up-to-date information, visit the CDC website at*

On March 19, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan announced the first confirmed case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in a child in the state of Maryland. With parents already on edge, this is not the news anyone wants to hear. As fear surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak continues to increase, Dr. Rachel Plotnick, a pediatrician with GBMC Health Partners Pediatric Group, spoke with WMAR-2 News to answer questions from parents about the current situation.

Is my child in danger from COVID-19?

While children can contract COVID-19, the symptoms they experience are generally very mild. We can’t say that children are at a lower risk for getting the virus, but we can say that we are seeing significantly fewer children who are showing symptoms.

If my child becomes sick, how do I know if they have COVID-19?

Treat your child’s illness as you would any other illness. Watch their breathing and their ability to drink fluids and eat. If you’re concerned, call your pediatrician, and if you would normally go to the emergency room, still go! We are here to care for your child (and for you) and want to give the full medical attention that is needed.

What activities are safe for my child?

We strongly recommend that activities be limited to those who live in the same household. Going outside and playing is safe (and fresh air is good for everyone!), just remember to practice social distancing and keep six feet in between your children and other people in the neighborhood. There are many resources and activities online to keep your children engaged and occupied and now is a great time to get back to the basics with activities like board games and cooking together.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 and still need to care for my child?

In an ideal situation, infected parents and caregivers would be able to isolate themselves from their children, but we know that this isn’t possible for most people. If you are diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19, know that your child is probably exposed too. This doesn’t mean that they will definitely get sick, but it is possible, and they may be able to spread the virus to others. Your child should use the same precautions that you are using.

Is hand sanitizer safe for my child?

Hand sanitizer is safe for children to use under adult supervision. The concern is that a child will ingest hand sanitizer that was put on his or her hands. Make sure that the sanitizer is completely dry before the child has the opportunity to put their hands in their mouth. Hand washing is just as effective as using hand sanitizer.

The best way to care for your child is to take care of yourself first. If you aren’t well, you can’t fully support your child. Be an example by practicing good hand hygiene and practicing social distancing – in times of anxiety they are looking to you.

*Click here for more information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)*
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