Coranavirus Covid -19
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Information and guidance issued 17th March 2020
Dear Parent / Carer,
We are writing to give you the following advice concerning the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The situation is changing all the time and we advise you to monitor for the latest government advice at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
What is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause anything from a common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is probably, overall, more at the cold and flu-like end of the spectrum of these infections. To date about 80% (80 in 100) of patients recover completely with no treatment. Data from China currently demonstrates that the infection is much milder in children than in adults although we do not yet understand exactly why this is the case. In what we currently know so far, there are not a large number of deaths in China even in immunosuppressed children or teenagers who we would expect to be more at risk. (https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses).
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- High temperature (defined as >37.8 degrees C)
- New continuous cough
- Shortness of breath
How is COVID-19 spread?
The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This is why hand washing is so critical. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
Reducing the chance of infection and transmission
Since it is spread by droplets, good hand hygiene is the top priority in preventing transmission of COVID-19, like most respiratory viruses. When out and about, alcohol-based hand-gel can be used to sanitise your hands. Washing your hands, thoroughly and frequently, with soap and water throughout the day will also help reduce the chance of infection (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/)
Should I wear a mask?
Masks are generally not effective, most people do not have appropriate training for a good fit, they need replacing regularly and there is probably greater risk of contaminating your face from your hands adjusting a mask than the benefit from wearing one. The exception is a healthcare setting when you are given a mask, shown how to wear it and it is disposed of appropriately.
Am I specifically at risk with my kidney condition?
Having kidney problems does not specifically predispose you to an increased risk of acquiring this type of viral infection, the risk comes from being exposed. Most kidney conditions will not necessarily make COVID-19 more severe than the infection experienced in healthy individuals. We consider the potential for more severe illness amongst our children who are immunosuppressed, either because of their underlying condition or the medicines used to treat them. To date, as a paediatric renal community, we have not been presented with data to suggest that these patients are represented in higher numbers at the more severe end of the COVID-19 disease spectrum.
Please continue your usual medication regime unless otherwise instructed by your Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist
Please continue to come to routine appointments if you are well unless you are otherwise instructed (this includes appointments for scheduled blood tests and radiology investigations).
We will be reviewing our outpatient schedules closely and offering telephone consultations where appropriate over the coming weeks. You will be told in advance if your appointment has changed.
Further advice in relation to COVID-19 and kidney disease can be found here:
School attendance / need for testing or attendance at hospital for assessment if your child is unwell
Please continue to follow the national advice (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public)
Safety-netting advice if you are concerned that your child is unwell can be found here: (https://what0-18.nhs.uk/parentscarers/worried-your-child-unwell/cough-and-cold)
Should I self-isolate until this is over?
Self-isolation - Isolation to prevent exposure
If you are well, there is no need to routinely self-isolate because of your kidney condition.
Please follow guidance from Public Health and NHS England if you think you need to self-isolate because you are unwell and might have the COVID-19 virus:
You do not need to contact NHS 111 to go into self-isolation
I think I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, what do I do?
If you believe you have been in contact with someone tested positive or symptomatic from a known outbreak area, make contact with NHS 111 online (https://111.nhs.uk/) or if you do not have internet access, call NHS 111 for the latest advice.
If you have been told to isolate by NHS 111 or you are symptomatic and NHS 111 have given advice, you should also contact your local renal unit to see if they need to provide input.
I think I have COVID-19, can I go to my local renal unit for review?
Contact NHS 111 online / call NHS 111 and follow their advice. Contact your renal unit by phone to update them. Do not attend without agreement from the centre.
If you are a haemodialysis patient then you must also contact the haemodialysis team (0117 342 8355) to inform them that you are unwell as this will require specific planning (noting that haemodialysis patients will be unable to self-isolate)
Keep up to date
If the number of cases of COVID-19 rises in the UK then this advice may change and you should follow the general advice given by the Government. This website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus) gives the current situation of the outbreak in the UK and abroad and provides specific advice for those travelling to and from affected countries.
This advice has been approved by Paediatric Infectious Diseases (PID) UK Medical Advisory Panel
16th March 2020
Other useful websites: