COVID-19 may be over-hyped to some, but it’s a real game changer. With all of Riley’s good luck in her Noonan’s adventure, it’s easy to forget that she is, in fact, sick. She seems like a healthy and vibrant child on the outside, but her insides don’t function like the vast majority. Luckily, her medication is doing its job in maintaining blood flow through her heart and lungs.
However, if she were to contract COVID-19, Riley would require hospitalization. No matter the severity of her case, because she has a heart condition, Riley would need to be monitored by her heart team in Dallas. The same would happen for a severe cold, the flu, or any stomach virus that could dehydrate her.
So, are we exceptionally worried about COVID-19? Yes, and no. I’m trying not to let it dictate our entire world, but isolation is kind of imperative. Luckily, I get to be isolated with one of my oldest friend’s, Tony, who has been staying with us since spring break (he’s a teacher). Riley loves her Uncle Tony, and he’s been helping us not to feel so lonely.
Here are some important COVID-19 points that have been stressed to us from our multiple specialists:
- SYMPTOMS: fever, cough, muscle aches, tiredness, shortness of breath
- Symptoms develop 2-14 days after exposure, so most people are infected by others showing no symptoms.
- Most people get better in a few weeks, but severe cases can last over a month.
- Healthy children seem to be the least susceptible, or have very minor cases. The most susceptible are adults over 60 years of age with other underlying health issues.
- Children and adults are more susceptible if they have chronic lung disease, heart disease, neurological conditions, have had an organ transplant, are undergoing cancer treatment, or are undergoing any other treatment that weakens the immune system.
- Most cases can be managed at home, much like cold and flu.
- It is unknown if the virus can be contracted multiple times.
How to avoid COVID-19:
- Social distancing. It’s better for us to just avoid being social at all, but sometimes we need to go to the store, or to get food. We avoid what we can, and stay as far away from outsiders as possible.
- Flu vaccine. Do not forget about cold and flu season! Keep your immune system strong by combating or avoiding cold and flu.
- Cover your cough and sneezes. The spread is believed to be caused from particles in our coughs and sneezes. Teach the kids about covering, and lead by example. Use a face mask in public, if needed.
- Avoid contact with sick people. Doesn’t matter what they’re sick with, even if they swear up and down that it is just allergies… AVOID.
- Wash hands and sanitize often. Before and after activities, bathroom usage, before and after handling food, before leaving the house and when coming back, etc. Wash, wash, wash.
- Do not touch your face. You shouldn’t do it anyway, for the sake of your skin, but especially not now.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and toys.
- Do not share food, utensils, straws, cups, etc.
- Avoid the ER! Call your primary physician if you need an appointment, or even if you are concerned you have COVID-19.
A lot of people with Noonan Syndrome will be much more susceptible to COVID-19, due to the various medical issues NS can cause. We don’t know exactly how much more susceptible, as it varies by individual, but we do know that symptoms can be much more damaging to persons with NS because of those complications.
We’re all in this boat together, though, as the rest of the world is basically quarantined due to COVID-19 as well. It feels weird to have everyone else doing what I essentially do at the core of every cold and flu season. It sucks, don’t it?