A small study in China found that it is possible for children to shed the coronavirus even after their symptoms are gone and they tested negative for the virus. Out of 745 babies and children who came into close contact with confirmed coronavirus patients, only 10 tested positive for the virus. Researchers discovered this through fecal testing in addition to standard testing techniques – swabbing the nose and throat. While the standard nose and throat tests came back negative, the stool samples showed the virus was still present. One child’s stool sample tested positive even 13 days after they had been released from the hospital. Now, more research is needed to know exactly what this means. Is it possible children can pass the virus to others? We don’t know. But, we can’t rule it out for certain. But, the mere presence of the virus in stool samples does not automatically mean transmission is possible.
Coping With Fear – Take Care of Your Mental Health
I’m hearing a lot of fear and uncertainty from my patients and throughout our community. I completely understand this reaction. Our sense of security and normalcy has changed drastically. Many are experiencing anxiety in these unprecedented times. And this is not only affecting those with mental health issues. And, those who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, or depression may be feeling the impacts of this health crisis even deeper. So, here are my recommendations for folks to take care of their mental health:
- Remember – we’re all in this together. You’re not alone in feeling scared and uncertain. Video or phone call friends and family to reduce anxiety and lift your spirits.
- Turn off the news. If constant updates on the changing status are causing you too much stress, it’s best to limit the amount of news you consume.
- Join an online support group. There are support systems available online, even if you do something as simple as joining a Facebook group.
- Relax. I recommend activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and listening to music. You can also dance or go for walks. Exercise can boost serotonin levels, which can help regulate your emotions.
- Stay Positive! Redirect your thoughts to what is good in your life to think positively as much as possible.
- Call Your Doctor. If you’re still having a hard time coping with the current situation, reach out to your family doctor.
Misinformation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Misinformation is rampant on the internet, and during a crisis is no exception. Supposedly, a Standford hospital board member offered simple self-checks for the virus. This information is false and did not come from Stanford. Standford University sent out this tweet to correct the error by saying, “Misinformation about COVID-19 symptoms and treatment falsely attributed to Stanford is circulating on social media and in email forwards.” The misinformation recommends taking a deep breath and holding it for ten seconds. If you’re able to do so, then the virus is not present in your lungs. This is completely false and provides no indication of the virus one way or another. Some people are unable to take deep breaths due to health conditions like heart disease or asthma, not because they have COVID-19.
Other erroneous information recommends sipping water every 15 minutes, gargling with salt water, and drinking hot liquids. Now, doing any of these things will not harm you. But, circulating false information about prevention or diagnosis is harmful. So, wash your hands often, clean and disinfect surfaces, practice social distancing, and stay home as much as possible – especially if you are sick. And, if you begin experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, call your local health department.