AUSTIN, Texas — Many Central Texas school districts are going back to the classroom this week, if they haven't already, amid an ongoing battle over masks in schools and surging coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the Lone Star State.
And while the risk for kids contracting COVID-19 may be low, it's not zero, according to Austin pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown.
"The most important thing right now is for parents to be really strong advocates for their kids, so if they are able to speak to their superintendent and school board, it's time to speak up and tell them how they feel because they want to protect their kids," Brown said.
Detecting COVID-19 in children isn't so easy. Some kids are presenting symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, vomiting or diarrhea. That's why Dr. Brown urges parents to take their kids for a COVID-19 test if any of those symptoms are present.
"You can't just chalk it up to allergies or some minor viral illness. The really important way to prevent transmission is to test," she said.
The best care for a child with COVID-19 is to keep them hydrated, rested and comfortable. If you or your child tests positive, there are still ways to reduce transmission within your household. Dr. Brown recommends everyone wear a mask and take extra precautions.
With cases and hospitalizations rising and more in-person interactions coming in the school year, she urges all parents to put their guard back up.
"Don't have the big birthday party with all the friends indoors, don't do indoor activities with people that are outside of your house. Limit going out to restaurants and things that you might ordinarily do when the numbers are lower," she said.
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