What happens if when your child tests positive for COVID-19? And if you are an expectant mum with COVID-19, what’s next?
We speak to Cecilia, mother to two, founder of Natventure Books who went through the unfortunate experience of not just contracting COVID-19 as an expectant mum but her two children testing positive as well.
Cecilia shares some tips on home recovery and how to curb the spread to other household members.
Cecilia’s “COVID Experience” as a Family
The experience was quite challenging and slightly traumatic for myself. It was slightly more complicated as both my kids were unvaccinated and I was about 28 weeks pregnant when diagnosed with COVID-19.
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My youngest daughter was tested positive on the ART after we were informed that her playgroup class had a positive case.
She developed slight fever of 37.6 degrees Celcius, which only lasted for a few hours, so we brought her to the clinic where a PCR was done and it came back positive. It was challenging to isolate her from the rest of the family as my husband was working from home and I had to care for both kids on my own during the day. Furthermore, I also needed help in caring for the kids as I was already in my 3rd trimester. We could only wear masks at home as a precaution.
Both my elder daughter’s and my ART came up positive later. So our strategy changed to isolate my husband instead, as much as we could. My younger daughter didn’t have any other symptoms except for fever, and my older daughter only had slight stuffy nose at night. I had symptoms of common cold like headache, sore throat, cough, runny nose.
We couldn’t fully isolate my husband and he helped to care for the kids when I was resting or too drowsy from the medication. During this period, I slept with the kids in their room instead and my husband has his meals in the kitchen instead of the dining table.
At that time, my younger daughter was not automatically eligible for home recovery and had to be brought to KKH for assessment before being placed on home recovery.
I was also not eligible for home recovery as I was more than 26 weeks pregnant. I was supposed to be directly admitted to the hospital. However, I did not want to be admitted as I felt that my symptoms were relatively mild and my blood oxygen saturation was alright. Furthermore, I also had concerns about the care of my children if I were to be admitted for long period. So, KKH arranged for a medical appointment to assess my eligibility to be on home recovery. Thankfully it was alright.
(Editor’s Note: According to MOH’s advistory, fully vaccinated Covid-19 patients who are younger than 35 and less than 26 weeks pregnant can recover at home)
Home Recovery for the Children
The kids mainly self-entertained themselves at home with books, toys, and whatever they could find. There were a lot of self-initiated pretend play, playing with Duplo, and helping out with chores like packing up and laundry. They are creative when left to their own devices.
We also watched movies over the weekends, though I was probably sleeping during that period.
My husband was still working from home during this period and I was also drowsy and tired from the medication for a few days. We just tried our best to keep them engaged, either with things to play or with food.
They definitely missed being able to meet up with their friends, going to our community garden, and just being out of the house.
Items to get ready at home in cases of home recovery
Ensure you have an oximeter at home. That will allow you to monitor the oxygen level in the blood, and to seek medical attention if the oxygen level drops below a certain percentage.
ART kits are vital. Even though you can collect free ART kits when you are issued with a health risk warning, it’s always good to have some spare ones at home. We did not have to take ART during the period of our home recovery, or at the end of it. The home recovery period automatically ends after isolating for 10 days from the date of the PCR results.
However, I still took ART, mainly to determine when I can move back to my bedroom instead of sleeping with the kids. As my husband did not get Covid, he had to take ART before leaving the house daily.
Having access to ready to eat frozen food and nuggets, and snacks is always helpful. Somehow the kids are always peckish when they are home.
Advice to Other Parents About COVID-19
For myself, I think being vaccinated really helps. My symptoms were just like a common cold. Even though it’s tiring, I can still manage some household chores and upkeep the house.
As for the kids, their symptoms were really mild too. Even those kids whom I knew had symptoms which consisted of fever and cold symptoms.
Most importantly, have adequate rest, eat well and drink more water. Boost the immune system and COVID-19 shouldn’t be something to be really fearful about.
Thank you Cecilia for sharing your experience and insights. We also recommend parents read this comic e-book to find out how to help children cope with COVID-19 should they be tested positive.
Stay safe and keep working on boosting your immunity!