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Returning to Sport and Physical Activity After COVID-19: What Parents Need to Know – Harvard Health Blog

Returning to Sport and Physical Activity After COVID-19: What Parents Need to Know – Harvard Health Blog


While most children and adolescents with COVID-19 are fully cured, the virus can sometimes have lasting effects. One of these effects can be damage to the heart muscles, and if the affected heart does physical exercise, it can lead to arrhythmias, heart failure, or sudden death.

This seems strange. But considering that we are learning verbatim about COVID-19, it makes it difficult for us to know how rare it is and whether it can be a dangerous exercise after having a positive COVID-19. To help doctors, coaches, gym teachers, parents, and caregivers make safe decisions, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published several publications. guidelines for returning to sports and physical activity After having COVID-19.

This is the “provisional orientation”: the best intention to find out what we need to do, as far as we know. Unfortunately, we know a lot about what we don’t know, and we can’t know how to study the virus and see what happens to patients until we see what happens during the week, months, and years.

What is important about returning to sports and physical activity?

Adolescents and young people who do competitive sports are at the highest risk of having a heart problem. This is because COVID-19s are for younger children because older teens and younger people have harder workouts because they are more likely to stress their heart muscle. Of course, no one can be sure that running on a playground in elementary school is completely safe for a child who has had COVID-19.

Guidelines for return to physical activity depend on whether the case of COVID-19 is considered mild (including asymptomatic), moderate, or severe.

  • Mild: fever of less than four days greater than 100.4 and muscle pain, chills, or fatigue in less than a week (would include those with symptomatic cases)
  • Medium: four or more days of fever over 100.4; a week or more of muscle aches, chills, or fatigue; or hospital stay (not ICU) without proof MIS-C. (MIS-C is a multisystem inflammatory syndrome that sometimes occurs with COVID-19.)
  • Serious: any ICU stay and / or intubation or MIS-C evidence. During intubation, a tube is placed through the mouth through the air and connected to a machine to help the baby breathe.

What study could be done after a child recovers from a symptomatic COVID-19 case?

It is most difficult to provide guidance for young people who have had mild or symptomatic cases, as we actually have limited data on this group in terms of heart health.

For these children, experts recommend that parents go to the child’s primary care provider. Wait for the child to recover from the illness (or at least take a positive test 10 days later if a child is symptomatic). Any symptoms of heart problems should be detected, with the most worrying

  • chest pain
  • less breathing than might be expected after a bad cold
  • palpitations they have never had
  • dizziness or dizziness.

After a very mild or symptomatic case in children who are not serious athletes, a simple phone call to a doctor may be enough.

A face-to-face examination is a good idea for those who have had unlimited cases, or if they have concerns, or if the child is a serious athlete.

If there are concerns based on the answers to questions or physical examination, then it makes sense to go to an EKG and a cardiologist.

If there is no concern, children can return to recreational physical activity as they feel it. Returning to competitive sports should be done gradually, seeing the symptoms along the way. See the AAP link above for suggestions on how to do this.

What examination could be done after a child has recovered from a moderate or severe case of COVID-19?

Any child with a moderate illness should see a primary care provider to look for and analyze the symptoms. Schedule a visit to your child at least 10 days after a positive test for the virus, and for at least 24 hours without symptoms without taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

If you have any symptoms or concerns about your findings about the physical exam, it is a good idea to consult your cardiologist and receive instructions on how to return to physical activity.

Children who have had a serious illness should see a cardiologist and stay away from the activity for at least three or six months, but should only return when the cardiologist says they are OK.

Once again, COVID-19 is a tentative guideline that will be developed as we learn more about the short- and long-term effects. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor.

Follow me on Twitter @drClaire



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