NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Some parents may be anxious about the possibility of their kids getting COVID-19 as cases continue rising. Health professionals say it’s completely normal to have those feelings of anxiety right now.
“Our daughter was born in this, she does not know the world outside of COVID,” said Springdale parent, Justin Meeks. “And it is so frustrating, all we have to do is for everyone to come together and decide we’re going to do this. We are all going to get vaccinated. We’re all going to social distance, we’re all going to wear masks.”
Meeks feels thankful his family has been able to keep COVID-19 out of their home so far, but with a 10-month-old daughter who is unable to be vaccinated right now, he has a lot of anxiety about keeping her safe.
“My wife and I are both vaccinated and boosted and we wear our masks constantly everywhere we go,” he said. “But that’s still not going to be enough to protect her.”
“That’s really been an enormous burden for not just parents, but kids,” said Celeste Williams, a family nurse practitioner in Northwest Arkansas. “There’s been no one that’s been untouched by just the stress of living through a pandemic.”
Williams said young children are some of the most vulnerable right now.
“They can’t get a vaccine and so it is prevention. And so what that looks like is that those who care for them have gotten their vaccine, which won’t prevent 100% of COVID, there will be breakthrough cases,” she said.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital had 10 hospitalizations two weeks ago. Now it is up to 36 kids, three of them are in the ICU and two are on ventilators. The Arkansas Department of Health said four kids have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The hospital said more than half of the 36 were vaccine-eligible and two had been fully immunized.
Dr. Jessica Snowden with Arkansas Children’s said there is some good news.
It’s not as bad as what we saw with Delta so far,” she said. “So we’re seeing kids come in with fever and trouble breathing like we saw earlier in the pandemic. But the Omicron doesn’t seem to be as bad, most kids are doing much better with it. They’re getting better faster than what we saw before.”
The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center lists the same symptoms for kids as adults, which includes cough, fever, shortness of breath and a sore throat. It said you should seek emergency care if your child can’t catch their breath, can’t keep down liquids, has confusion or bluish lips.
“So what I’m telling everyone is if you’re sick at all, odds are good what you have is Omicron,” said Dr. Snowden. “Don’t assume that it’s just croup or just a stomach bug or just a cold it’s likely Omicron. We’re seeing a really wide range of symptoms with this.”
Meeks hopes people take this pandemic seriously for the sake of his child’s safety.
“I’ve done everything I can do,” he said. “So it’s my wife and so as everyone around us, please protect her.”
If you’re child is symptomatic and tests positive with an at home tests, health professionals recommend riding out the storm at home for the five day quarantine, and letting your child’s doctor know about the positive case. But they want you to monitor you child’s symptoms closely, and if they get worse, don’t hesitate to take them to emergency care.