Coronavirus Updates for the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine

Updated December 16, 2020

As we navigate this challenging, stressful time together, we want you to know that we in the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine are here for you. There are many precautions we are taking to support broader public health efforts to reduce opportunities for spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 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.

We want to reassure you that we are confident that we can safely provide the care your child needs. The current surge in cases nationwide has not impacted our ability to provide care safely.

Read below for more details about our current efforts to reduce the risk of inadvertent exposure to COVID-19:

Outpatient/clinic visits

We have carefully resumed all in-person visits and PFT testing. Here’s what you can expect when you come back to see us.

We are currently seeing in-person visits at the Philadelphia Campus and at our Specialty Care locations. The Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) lab has resumed normal operations as well. If your child needs an in-person visit, some team members may still join the visit virtually, however we are still available to provide care via our video platform, even from the exam room. Everyone entering our clinics will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19. If you need to come to CHOP, please review the information below.

We are still conducting patient visits via telemedicine with excellent results and family satisfaction. Read below for more details on telehealth options available to families.

Telehealth video visits

The Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine is actively using telehealth, including video visits, as an alternative to some in-person visits when it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so.

  • Current patients: In order to join a video visit, you will need to download the MyCHOP application on your phone or tablet. We are looking at every appointment and evaluating the best way to connect with you about your child’s care. 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 us at 215-590-3749.
  • New patients: If you are seeking a second opinion or a consultation with us, and live within PA or NJ, telehealth may be an option as well. Please check with your health plan to confirm that your insurance covers video visits. Call us at 215-590-3749 and our staff will assist you and will also help you to download a MyCHOP account if you don’t already have one.

Resources and tip sheets: Find instructions for getting set up for video visits with us. Some of our patients will need imaging studies for their visit. If this is the case, our staff will contact you with instructions on how to upload radiology imaging for your telehealth visit.

Before your virtual visit please remember to:

  • Complete your pre-visit questionnaires in MyCHOP, if you are a new patient
  • Have any necessary equipment and supplies available for the visit (ie: CPAP equipment, mask, machine supplies, medications, inhalers and chambers)
  • If you have specific questions in planning for your visit, please reach out to us at 215-590-3749

Please note: Your child needs to be present on the virtual visit.

Second opinions and new patients

The Division continues to accept new patients and requests for second opinions. Depending on the specific problem, the consultation could be in person, or through telemedicine, as medically appropriate. If you’re seeking a second opinion or looking to refer a new patient, call us at 215-590-3749.

FAQs and Answers related to COVID-19

What should I do if my child still has ongoing respiratory symptoms after having COVID-19?

  • Children who are recovering from COVID-19 infection will benefit from continued follow-up care with a pulmonologist. Pulmonary function testing may be important in monitoring recovery from COVID-19 infection. Your pulmonologist can help refer you to other specialists, if needed.
  • Your child may require prolonged rest and slow return-to-play. Your pulmonologist can help you decide when it is safefor your child to return to previous exercise level.

My child has asthma is he/she more likely to have more severe disease with COVID-19?

  • Asthma and COVID-19 both affect the lungs. Children with moderate-to-severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • So far, children with asthma aren't getting COVID-19 more often than people who don't have asthma, and children with mild asthma don't seem to get sicker from COVID-19 than children without asthma.
  • More research is needed to determine the relationship between asthma and COVID-19 infection.
  • It is important to follow up with your child’s pulmonologist to ensure his or her asthma is well managed to prevent potential complications from COVID-19 infection. You should also contct your child’s pulmonologist for any questions regarding how to manage cold symptoms or for any concerns about respiratory viral illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Should my child be allowed to play with other children or go to school during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. It is important to balance children’s medical health with their emotional well-being, and we know that children benefit significantly from social interactions. Your child can practice simple infection control measures to reduce risk of getting COVID-19 or other respiratory infections while playing with others. These precautions include: washing hands, wearing a mask, avoiding close contact, and covering coughs and sneezes.
  • If your child has lung disease, you should discuss with your pulmonologist to ensure what activities are safe for him or her.
  • It is important to keep up on well-child visits with your pediatrician and routine vaccinations, including the annual flu vaccine to maintain overall health as a way to lessen the likelihood of severe COVID-19 infection.
  • Many children are experiencing anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. For some children, this may manifest as difficulty breathing, chest pain or other respiratory complaints. If your child develops respiratory complaints, you should talk to your pediatrician, who can help you determine if your child should see a pulmonologist for further testing.

Can a child with pulmonary/respiratory conditions play competitive sports during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • To reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, it is best to reduce the number of people that your child interacts with, the duration of interaction and sharing equipment.
  • Your child can take the following precautions to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection: have smaller team sizes, stay home if sick, wear a mask, reduce physical closeness between players when possible, minimize sharing of equipment, minimize spitting, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands, and limit travel outside of your area.

Additional safety information during the COVID-19 pandemic

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.

Read more about reduced entry for parents, caregivers and siblings, cleaning protocols, protective masks, and the many other safety measures in place:

Helpful resources

Check out these additional resources to help you keep your family informed and healthy.

We know this is a challenging time and we thank you for your understanding and partnership in keeping our patients, families and staff safe.