Coronavirus Updates from the Division of Allergy and Immunology
As we navigate this challenging, stressful time together, we want you to know that we are here for you. We would also like to provide you with updates about the many precautions we are taking to support broader public health efforts and reduce opportunities for the coronavirus (COVID-19) to spread. We are monitoring the situation closely and adapting our policies as needed to ensure the safety of our patients, families and staff. Please note this is a rapidly evolving situation. We will be updating our community regularly with key information.
Children with allergies and asthma do not have an increased risk for complications from COVID-19 compared to the general public or other children. In general, children have milder disease than adults. Our current asthma and allergy medication including inhaled steroids, antihistamines, intranasal steroids, leukotriene modifiers, omalizumab, and dupulimab do not increase the risk of complication from COVID-19. However, it is critical that all children wear masks if possible to prevent spreading or contracting COVID-19. The mask has the additional benefit of reducing exposure to pollens and other virus, also helping your child’s asthma and allergies. The other way to keep children safe is to make sure that they are up to date on their immunizations including their yearly influenza vaccine.
We recommend that ALL our patients (and their families) take extra care and use preventative measures such as staying inside as much as possible, practicing social distancing, and wearing a mask every time they leave the house.
Here are some important things to know at this time:
- Please make sure your child(ren) are taking ALL their medications (inhalers too!) as prescribed.
- We are here if you have questions about your child or need prescription renewals.
- In order to better prevent the risk of inadvertent exposure, we have significantly decreased in-person patient visits (limiting to only certain conditions). In addition, there are no elective procedures being performed at this time.
- Please let us know if you have concerns related to immunoglobulin replacement therapy, including the need for visiting nurse services.
- The Day Medicine Unit will remain open throughout this time for patients receiving immunoglobulin replacement or other treatments. Please contact Day Medicine directly for scheduling questions: 215-590-1668.
- Restricted visitation procedures are in place for all appointments and hospital visits. To keep our patients, families and staff safe from COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections, we ask you to reduce the number of parents or caregivers as much as possible to all Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia sites. Our current COVID-19 restricted visitation policy is that no more than two healthy parents or caregivers (18 and over) are allowed to visit patients in the hospital or accompany patients to any appointment at a CHOP location. Parents and caregivers cannot be ill (must be without fever, cough or other concerning symptoms), nor have testing pending for COVID-19. Siblings are not permitted, with the exception of breastfeeding infants. These procedures are in place during this rapidly changing situation as the prevalence of COVID-19 continues to increase in our community.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you or your child develops a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, contact your medical provider immediately. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your/your child’s symptoms. They will coordinate safe testing and treatment and get you the care you need.
Urgent care and emergencies
CHOP’s four pediatric urgent care locations remain open with regular hours. Urgent care video visits are also now available as an option for families in PA and NJ.
Our Emergency Department (ED) is open. Please only visit our ED if your child is experiencing a true emergency.
CHOP has greatly expanded the use of video visits and other telehealth options as an alternative to some in-person visits when it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so. Find instructions for getting set up for video visits with a CHOP provider.
- Current patients: We are looking at every patient appointment and evaluating the best way to connect with you about your child’s care. Your provider’s office will contact you to discuss options for any upcoming appointments. In the meantime, we encourage you to sign in to your MyCHOP account to ensure you can successfully access your account. If you have questions, or need to sign up for MyCHOP, please call your provider’s office.
- New patients: Some specialties are using telehealth for new patient referrals and second opinions. Please check with your health plan to confirm that your insurance covers video visits with CHOP providers. Contact the specialty directly to discuss options.
We know this is a challenging time and we thank you for your understanding and partnership in keeping our patients, families and staff safe.
- Get answers to frequently asked questions around COVID-19.
- Physical distancing (also called social distancing) is very important to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but it can be particularly hard for children. Watch this short video for helpful tips to make physical distancing more manageable.
- Read our child life specialists’ tips for talking to children about COVID-19.
- If your child’s healthcare provider has recommended testing, read these tips for preparing your child for drive-thru COVID-19 testing.
- These are stressful times, and caring for our mental health is critically important. Learn simple strategies to help you and your child cope with stress and anxiety.
If you are concerned about your child’s condition, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to your child’s physician. For questions about your office visit, including scheduling or rescheduling, please contact our scheduling center at 215-590-2549.