Childhood cancer and COVID-19: What you need to know
Childhood cancer is a scary enough diagnosis for parents, but adding that to a pandemic can be overwhelming. Pediatric oncologist Stuart Cramer, DO, answered questions to help ease worries and guide parents of children who may be immunocompromised during this pandemic.
Are children with cancer at higher risk for COVID-19 and/or serious illness from COVID-19?
“Currently, the data and studies available do not suggest that children with cancer are at a higher risk for COVID-19. The data also shows that children with cancer who become infected with COVID-19 recover well overall. However, this data is still evolving and as we continue to learn more about the virus and its effects, we will be able to better understand the complications it may have for children with cancer,” said Dr. Cramer.
What should you do if your child is immunocompromised because of cancer or cancer treatment?
“Follow the guidelines set forth by your oncology team and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines should include wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene and limiting interaction with individuals who are sick or have symptoms of infection, such as cough, congestion and fever,” said Dr. Cramer.
What should you do if your child is a cancer survivor?
“Fortunately, for most childhood cancer patients, their immune systems usually recover within six months to a year after therapy has been discontinued. Again, the best way to protect your child and your family is by following the CDC’s guidelines for mask wearing, social distancing, good hand hygiene – and get vaccinated,” said Dr. Cramer.
If my child has cancer or is a cancer survivor, should they get the vaccine when it becomes available to them?
“Absolutely. Your child should receive the vaccine when it becomes available to them, as well as any family member who is eligible. Everyone your child is around should receive the vaccine to help protect them and their immune system,” said Dr. Cramer.
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