COVID-19 infection rates are decreasing and as vaccinations increase, we are looking forward to youth sports getting back to the field (or court, pool or pitch). Due to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get a thorough medical examination and heart check before your children become physically active, especially if your child has tested positive for COVID-19.
Bay Street Pediatrics is here to explain why.
Why is a clearance physical important overall?
Your child’s clearance physical will ensure that they are in proper condition to run, jump and play. We will check for any issues that may cause problems that could worsen with exertion. If we find any evidence of a health challenge, we will order further testing or refer you to a pediatric cardiologist.
Why is getting back to physical activity important?
Physical activity has big benefits for your child – physically, developmentally, emotionally and socially. Your child needs to move to build their cardiovascular health, increase strength and flexibility and boost their immune system. Physical activity, be in dance or football, helps to set up the habits that will prevent obesity for years to come. Being on a team, even during pick-up games in the neighborhood, helps children learn to cooperate and communicate with their peers, and increases their opportunities for positive friendships. Physical activity helps fend off symptoms of depression and anxiety as their bodies churn out serotonin, dopamine and other “feel good” chemicals.
Why is a clearance physical vital after having COVID-19?
Research is showing that a small population of young and very healthy children who experienced COVID-19 are now being diagnosed with structural heart damage.
COVID-19 has caused enlarged heart including irregular rhythms, atrial fibrillation and ischemia (poor blood flow) which weaken the heart. When undetected and untreated, COVID-19 heart damage can cause SCD or sudden cardiac death. While this is not common in children, it does exist.
If your child or teen did experience symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important to avoid exercise, work outs, training or competition until they get medical clearance and a heart check. With this clearance, your child should start very slowly, with 15 minutes or less of light activity and no more than 70% of their usual intensity, gradually working up to full activity in about seven days.
Even if your child showed only mild symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, they could have sustained heart damage and be at risk of SCD.
It is imperative to make an appointment for a post-COVID clearance physical to ensure your child can jump, run and play safely. Please call us at 203-227-3674 or click here to contact us.
Have questions about clearance physicals? Just ask! We are always happy to help.