COVID-19 Guidance for Parents with Children or Teens with Immunocompromised or Other High-Risk Chronic Conditions

March 20, 2020

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States continues to climb, many parents who have a child/teen with a chronic condition or a child/teen who is immunocompromised have questions about precautions and preparations they can take.

It is important that parents and caregivers of children and teens who are immunocompromised or have an underlying health condition understand the best practices to help stop the spread of the illness.

Many of the precautions parents and caregivers should take for children with chronic conditions or those who are immunocompromised are the same precautions as those that are otherwise healthy.

First, it’s key that all members of the household practice consistent and quality hand-washing. This means washing hands with water and soap often for 20 seconds each time.

Other preventive measures:

  • When soap and water is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick
  • Practicing social distancing (physically distancing yourself 6 feet away from individuals)- stay away from public places such as work, school and crowds
  • When you absolutely need to interact with other individuals, be vigilant about asking if they have any respiratory symptoms before doing so
  • Cover your cough and sneeze using facial tissues or into your elbow
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as phones, tables and doorknobs 
  • Teach your children and others to follow these steps

Many of our parents with a child who has an underlying health condition are asking if their child should wear a mask for protection. Our experts do not recommend the use of masks at this time for prevention of infection, as they have not been shown to be effective. It is better to focus on all members of the household practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding potentially infected individuals.

Additionally, many of our families have questions about upcoming, scheduled clinic visits or labs. Staff will be rescheduling non-urgent patient appointments and non-urgent, elective surgical procedures. Please contact your physician’s office if you have not been contacted or if you have questions. If you do have a nescessary appointment or procedure, we urge:

  • To keep all of our patients and staff safe, if your child has any respiratory illness, please call your speciality division (i.e. Heart Center, Endocrinology, Transplant, etc.) prior to coming in to your appointment to determine next steps.
  • If you are coming in for a routine appointment and wish to postpone, we will support you and work with your family to reschedule later this spring. Please call your specific program to reschedule.
  • If you have an emergency, please seek care immediately! Please do not delay due to concerns about COVID-19. Many other conditions and infections can develop during this time, and we want to make sure that concern about COVID-19 does not cause a delay in seeking care that could be life-saving.
  • If your child has cold symptoms such as a cough or runny nose AND a fever, please call your specialist to discuss how your child is doing.

Lastly, parents and caregivers have been concerned about medication supplies. At this time, there is no issue with the supply of immunosuppressive medications. There are a host of problems with obtaining extra medication including insurance approval and expiration dates for compounded suspension. We do recommend that you plan ahead and do not wait until the last minute to obtain your refills.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the resource hub.