With the global COVID-19 pandemic transforming our everyday lives, Congenital Hyperinsulinism International (CHI) is making information available to the HI community.
We have been contacted by a number of families with concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic could affect children with HI. We reached out to a few leading specialists to answer this question. In reading their responses, please keep in mind that the information about the virus will continue to be updated, and this information is based on what we know as of April 3, 2020.
- Generally, those with HI are not at increased risk of getting COVID-19, nor should they have increased risk from it because typically, those with HI are not immunosuppressed.
- The exception to this would be for those who have significant neurologic impairment and who may have sustained problems with their lungs from chronic aspiration or other non-HI related lung damage, which would put them in the high-risk category if they were to get COVID-19.
- Additionally, some children also have other conditions and a very complex set of other medical issues. Parents of these children should speak to their specialists if they have concerns.
- COVID-19 is not typically associated with a lot of vomiting and gastrointestinal symptoms, and if a child were to contract COVID-19, they should be able to continue to eat and drink and keep down continuous dextrose. However, any virus sometimes causes changes to typical blood sugar levels for children with HI, which is why preventative measures are so important.
- Following city, state, region, and country public health guidelines about school attendance, social distancing, careful handwashing and other hygiene and sanitizing measures, avoidance of interaction with sick people, and all other COVID-19 related advisories are all recommended.
- It is recommended that a child with HI, and any child, who has flu-like symptoms remain quarantined with caregivers. If during this time, the child becomes unwell or is hypoglycemic, parents should contact their specialists to consider whether or not they will require admission. Any parent with a question or concern about their child’s health should direct those questions directly to their healthcare providers.
We also recommend visiting the websites of the health authorities and leading hospitals that treat people with HI. Below you will find links to these excellent resources as well as additional links to other helpful website that provide information about COVID-19.
COVID-19 Resource Links
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
Coronavirus Info from the White House, CDC and FEMA: https://www.coronavirus.gov/
Alder Hey Children’s, Liverpool, UK: https://alderhey.nhs.uk/covid-19-information-hub
Charitie Hospital, Berlin, Germany: https://www.charite.de/klinikum/themen_kliniku/themenschwerpunkt_coronavirus/
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: https://www.chop.edu/coronavirus-updates
Cook Children’s Hospital, Fort Worth, Texas, USA: https://cookchildrens.org/health-resources/safety/Pages/COVID-19-Coronavirus.aspx
Great Ormond Street, London, England: https://www.gosh.nhs.uk/news/coronavirus-covid-19-information-children-young-people-and-families
Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester, UK: https://mft.nhs.uk/rmch/important-information-about-the-coronavirus-covid-19/
Necker Hospital, Paris, France: http://hopital-necker.aphp.fr/coronavirus
Sick Kids, Toronto, Canada: http://www.sickkids.ca/visitingsickkids/infection-prevention-and-control/infection-prevention-and-control.html
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco, CA: https://coronavirus.ucsf.edu/
Rare Disease Organizations
Global Genes, Allies in Rare Disease: https://globalgenes.org/2020/03/20/supporting-the-rare-disease-community-during-covid-19/
NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders): https://rarediseases.org/covid-19-resources-for-non-profit-leaders-and-the-community/
Self-care and Mental Health Support
Emily’s Entourage, Staying Safe and Staying Sane: Tips From an Infection Control Vet During the Coronavirus Outbreak: https://www.emilysentourage.org/staying-safe-and-staying-sane-tips-from-an-infection-control-vet-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/
CDC, Manage Anxiety and Stress: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html
NPR, Coronavirus and Parenting: What You Need To Know Now: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/13/814615866/coronavirus-and-parenting-what-you-need-to-know-now