Corona autumn: am I sitting at home alone with my child again?

The cold season begins in autumn – and again a particularly stressful time for many families. The pandemic does the rest. Many parents look to the months ahead with concern. Are we back home alone with the children? And what about the currently increasing number of respiratory diseases, especially in young children? So that parents and children get through the next few months well, everyone is required, says the President of the Society for Child and Adolescent Medicine, Professor Jörg Dötsch.

Professor Dötsch, many mothers and fathers are looking at autumn with concern: there are more infectious diseases again, the children under the age of twelve are not vaccinated. Will we all be at home with the kids all the time?

Professor Jörg Dötsch from Cologne University Hospital is President of the German Society for Child and Adolescent Medicine.

Jörg Dötsch: That is a question that moves many. That is why it is so important that we do everything we can to avoid such a situation. So that we continue to consistently apply the established hygiene rules – keep your distance, wear mouth and nose protection, ventilate. Second, it is important that everyone who can and for whom it is recommended to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Even if you don’t do it for health risks alone, those who get vaccinated can help protect others who can’t get vaccinated. These are often the most sensitive groups. It is also important to continue testing, especially in schools. If we take these three measures to heart, we can relax the quarantine rules and ensure that not entire classes or perhaps not even the person sitting next to them have to be quarantined in positive cases. Only by adhering to the measures can we prevent parents from having to sit at home with their children often in autumn and winter.

The problem also affects daycare centers. And especially the little ones are catching up with infections again, because their immune system was hardly trained last winter due to the frequent isolation. How are parents supposed to manage that in autumn and winter when the cold, but otherwise perhaps healthy children cannot go to daycare?

That is an enormous burden. It is important that society supports families in all conceivable forms. So that this is accepted in the workplace. That the families are offered support wherever it is necessary and possible, for example with shopping. You can only do that with a good social network. Mutual help is extremely important here.

What kind of consequences would it have for families if they found themselves in isolation more often at home?

That depends a lot on how resilient they are – how resilient they react to unpleasant things that bombard them. And it depends on the living conditions: For a family with spacious living space and a garden, this is probably much easier to manage than for a family that lives together in a confined space.

We are concerned about the effects on the children: Especially those who overcome social boundaries by attending daycare and school are prevented from doing so by being isolated at home. And then of course we see the physical consequences. For example, as a result of the restrictions last winter, many more children than usual developed overweight.

It is commonly said that a runny nose is not a reason that a child cannot go to daycare or school. How do you judge that?

Anything that could indicate a Covid-19 infection should prevent the child from going to daycare. I have children of my own, I know how difficult it is. But in order to avoid quarantines and that other children and their families may be affected, you shouldn’t do that. With respiratory symptoms such as runny nose and cough, but also with gastrointestinal problems, the child should therefore stay at home during this time.

In any case, the child should always stay at home when their activity is impaired – that is, when they feel really sick – and when they have a fever. Fever can affect the heart if you put strain on your body. Therefore, a child with a fever should generally not go to daycare, school or sports. But rest at home.

Some daycare centers are very strict and send every child home with the slightest cold symptoms. Others say that the child can come with a runny nose – provided it has a negative corona test. What do you make of it?

In principle, this is a way of having some certainty. But you would have to use a PCR lolly test because the rapid antigen test for children is, on the one hand, much more uncomfortable when taking the weight and, on the other hand, does not provide very reliable results.
We are aware that this is handled very differently at the moment. This may soon be discussed at the political level in order to get the most uniform possible approach off the ground.

Some wonder whether their child has gone through a corona infection in hiding. Are there any obvious signs of this?
No, this is not existing. You could only get clues by taking a blood sample and then doing an antibody test. In my opinion, that shouldn’t be done either. Taking a blood sample is a pain experience for the children, which you have to weigh very carefully.

Children very rarely get seriously ill with Covid-19 and are also not considered a strong factor in the pandemic. This ensures that parents sometimes shrug their shoulders and say: “It doesn’t matter if the child is infected.” How do you see it?

That is thought too lightly. Even if we say that the children are not at high risk: every avoidable hospital stay, every avoided illness, every avoided quarantine is a gain. We shouldn’t want the children to be infected with Sars-CoV-2.

Finally, what tips do you have for parents and children in order to survive possible quarantine periods in autumn and winter?

It is very important to use the social network. Everyone in the environment – grandma, grandpa, close friends – should support. If you find that you are reaching your limits, you should seek help in good time. Those who shy away from contact with psychological agencies can first speak to the pediatrician. Because the practical tips are often individual. In other words, there is no such thing as a model solution for everyone. You have to look at each child and family individually. (dpa)

Source: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger by

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