The News-Times

‘It was just really scary’

Mother recalls COVID-related hospitaliz­ation of infant daughter

- By Sandra Diamond Fox

SHERMAN — Around 10:30 p.m. last Thursday, Grace Davlos, of Sherman, thought she heard her 5month-old daughter, Lydia, make a sound that was like a sneeze.

“I went in the bedroom to check on her, and she was gasping for air and wheezing,” said Davlos 32, who along with her husband, Matthew, has a 2year-old daughter, Estella.

After calling 911 and riding with Lydia in an ambulance to Danbury Hospital, Davlos later learned that Lydia — who has no underlying medical conditions had COVID-19.

“It was just really scary, it happened so suddenly,” Davlos said, adding her daughter had no previous symptoms.

The week before, the rest of Davlos family had contracted what they described as mild cases of COVID-19, but were all starting to feel better.

Arriving at Danbury Hospital, Lydia, who had been given oxygen in the

ambulance, was still struggling with her oxygen levels, her mother said.

“She was given more oxygen and was kept on it, and also given a drug to open her airways,” Davlos said.

Lydia stayed on oxygen through the night with a temperatur­e of about 99 degrees, said Davlos, who stayed overnight with her daughter.

The following day, Lydia showed much improvemen­t, her mother said. She had been given a steroid to help her lungs, was taken off oxygen for several hours and was later sent home.

Lydia is nearly recovered, said Davlos, a designer who works from home.

‘Uptick’ in cases

On Monday, Monica M. Buchanan, a senior director at Connecticu­t Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, said the center is seeing many more infant and pediatric cases of COVID-19.

“During any point during the pandemic, we average at a peak two patients. In the past three weeks, we have hit numbers of 17 admitted patients with COVID,” Buchanan said. “While the numbers are still relatively small, they are the largest we have seen since COVID hit the US. It’s nearly a 750 percent increase. Today, we have eight cases in-house.”

Dr. Beth Natt, a regional clinical director at Connecticu­t Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, said the uptick in cases at the center has closely mirrored the increase of cases throughout the state. Although the majority don’t need hospitaliz­ation, the number of pediatric patients hospitaliz­ed with COVID has increased as well, Natt said.

Infants and young children mostly have symptoms of COVID-19 similar to those in many other common viruses, Natt said — “Mild cold and cough symptoms, a hoarse voice, vomiting and diarrhea, and fever.”

“As physicians, we are looking for the same things that would worry us for a child that has any illness: Are they able to drink well enough to keep themselves hydrated? Are they working hard to breathe? Are they comfortabl­e and playful or ill-appearing?” Natt said.

If parents have any concerns of that nature, they should reach out to their pediatrici­an for advice or bring their child to a local emergency department, she said.

Because of their developing immune system, “we also worry if a young infant has a fever in the first two months of life,” Natt said. “Because it is hard to tell if a fever is due to a virus or a bacterial infection, any fever — a temperatur­e over 100.4 — in an infant under two months of life, should be promptly evaluated.”

Typically, Natt said symptoms in infants can begin very quickly.

“Be mindful to watch for fever, drinking, wet diapers and changes in breathing,” she said. “If an infant has a known exposure, I would be watching (him or her) for the next 10 days, but more closely in the first week.”

She added young children have a higher risk of hospitaliz­ation with viral illnesses.

“This is true with COVID-19 as well as influenza, RSV and other common viruses,” she said. “If an infant requires hospitaliz­ation for COVID-19, the treatment is typically supportive care, including making sure they’re drinking well or adequately hydrated, helping with their breathing or oxygenatio­n if they're having difficulty, and monitoring them to ensure that they get over the illness.”

She added children tend to get worse for a few days before they start to improve.


When parents test positive for COVID-19, it can be very hard — if nearly impossible — to socially distance from their young children.

“This is always a really difficult situation. First, parents should know that they should do their best,” Natt said. “Although we would recommend having other people help to care for the infant when a parent is ill, this is not always possible.”

She added good hand-washing and wearing masks “can go a long way.”

Additional­ly, she said parents should try to separate older siblings who test positive from newborns as best they can.

It’s safe to continue to breastfeed when a mother has COVID, she added.

“We recommend that mothers wear a mask when they are feeding the infant and continue to do good hand washing before handling the infant,” Natt said.

In general, since infants are at higher risk of infections in the first few months of their lives, she recommends limiting their exposure to large numbers of people and making sure those coming to visit are healthy.

“With the high prevalence of COVID at this time, we would recommend that parents mask when they are in public areas, and be thoughtful in the number of people that they have coming over the house to visit the new baby,” she said.

She also recommends being up to date on immunizati­ons for COVID-19 as well as the flu and whooping cough — for everyone who is helping to care for the baby.

“And of course, just because somebody has tested negative for COVID does not necessaril­y mean that they do not have one of a number of other viruses that can make an infant ill,” Natt said.

She recommends having those with a recent illness wait until they’re completely better before they help care for the infant.

Parents should not panic after learning their infant has COVID.

“Most infants do very well, and many have very mild symptoms. Treat your child as if they have any other virus, but be mindful to the isolation and quarantine guidelines from the CDC,” Natt said. “Ensure they are comfortabl­e, drinking well, and have easy work of breathing, and communicat­e closely with your pediatrici­an if you have any concerns.”

 ?? Grace Davlos / Contribute­d photo ?? Grace Davlos with her daughter, Lydia.
Grace Davlos / Contribute­d photo Grace Davlos with her daughter, Lydia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States