Pediatrician offers advice about children and COVID-19

Pediatrician discusses heart risks to athletes with COVID-19

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Students across Alabama are returning to school after the winter break, so we reached out to a pediatrician about her concerns regarding children and coronavirus.

Pediatrician Dr. Nola Ernest says the benefits of school far outweigh the risks of transmission at school.

“In the beginning of the pandemic, transmission of the virus between students in schools and in commercial childcare centers was actually relatively low,” Dr. Ernest said. “However, as our cases increase in the community, we do anticipate that transmission at school will start to become more of an issue. Still, kids need school, and we want them to go back.”

Ernest says pediatricians are extremely concerned about the long term developmental impact that the pandemic is going to have on children.

“Children rely on schools not just for educational opportunities, but also for social interaction with their peers, for meals, for physical therapy and speech therapy and mental health counseling,” she explained.

Getting children vaccinated for COVID-19

The pediatrician said sticking to a routine is important to prevent some of the worry and anxiety that may arise in children as a result of the pandemic. She also said play dates are not out of the question, but keep it to small groups outside and wear a mask.

“When it comes to COVID athletes, unfortunately, we have seen that the SARS COVID virus does like to attack the heart. And in some cases of young athletes, we can see heart involvement in up to 30 percent of patients that had COVID infection, even if their symptoms were mild.”

If your child has had COVID-19, Ernest says make sure they are seen by a pediatrician to be cleared for return to play.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.