More COVID-19 myths and facts: Boston Children’s edition

Photo of the front of Boston Children's Hospital
Take our quiz to see if you know what to do if you need to seek health care at Boston Children's. (Images: Micheal Goderre/David Chrisom, Boston Children's Hospital)

Now that restrictions are easing in Massachusetts, many people have questions about how, if, and when to visit Boston Children’s Hospital. Test your knowledge of our updated policies and procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak by taking our quiz.

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True or False? It’s not safe to come to the hospital because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

False. Although bleach and disinfectants are useful for cleaning germs on surfaces around your home, they are extremely dangerous if swallowed or used in your body. They will not kill COVID-19 in your body, but will harm your internal organs and can cause severe illness or death. With the exception of using hand sanitizer on your hands, you should not use any type of disinfectant on your body.

False. Although bleach and disinfectants are useful for cleaning germs on surfaces around your home, they are extremely dangerous if swallowed or used in your body. They will not kill COVID-19 in your body, but will harm your internal organs and can cause severe illness or death. With the exception of using hand sanitizer on your hands, you should not use any type of disinfectant on your body.

False. Our top priority is the safety of our patients, families, and staff. We have been working closely with state and city officials to reopen services and we’re confident we can provide a safe environment for you and your family. Boston Children’s has always followed strict infection control recommendations, and we’ve added some additional measures during the COVID-19 outbreak to keep our environment as safe as possible.

True or False? Everyone must be screened before they can enter the hospital.
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False. Herd immunity occurs when most of a population is immune to a disease, either from exposure to it or from a vaccine. Infectious disease specialists say that to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19, at least 70 percent of a population must be immune. It is not known how much of the U.S. population has been exposed to COVID-19, but experts say it’s likely closer to 5 percent. To achieve herd immunity with such a deadly disease without a vaccine would risk overwhelming hospitals and many more deaths.

False. Herd immunity occurs when most of a population is immune to a disease, either from exposure to it or from a vaccine. Infectious disease specialists say that to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19, at least 70 percent of a population must be immune. It is not known how much of the U.S. population has been exposed to COVID-19, but experts say it’s likely closer to 5 percent. To achieve herd immunity with such a deadly disease without a vaccine would risk overwhelming hospitals and many more deaths.

True. All families, visitors and staff are screened for symptoms of illness when they enter the hospital. When you arrive and check in, one of our clinicians will ask you if you have had symptoms or been exposed to anyone with COVID-19.

True or False? You don’t need an appointment for labs or other quick outpatient visits.
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True. While fever and cough are common signs of COVID-19 disease, there are also many other symptoms. These may include:
• shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• chills or shaking
• muscle pain
• headache
• sore throat
• loss of taste or smell

There may be other symptoms as well. Children generally have similar symptoms to adults, but their symptoms may be milder.

True. While fever and cough are common signs of COVID-19 disease, there are also many other symptoms. These may include:
• shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• chills or shaking
• muscle pain
• headache
• sore throat
• loss of taste or smell

There may be other symptoms as well. Children generally have similar symptoms to adults, but their symptoms may be milder.

False. To keep our families and staff as safe as possible, all visits are currently by appointment only. This means we cannot accept walk-in visits, even for blood draws and radiology. However, we are encouraging families to schedule routine vaccinations and well-visits, as these are essential to your child’s continued health and development.

True or False? If you think your child has COVID-19, you should come to the hospital.
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Unknown. Experts still don’t know for certain if someone who is infected with COVID-19 will develop immunity to the illness. Based on research from other types of coronaviruses, it’s not likely that the person would be re-infected right away, but it is not yet known how long immunity might last.

Unknown. Experts still don’t know for certain if someone who is infected with COVID-19 will develop immunity to the illness. Based on research from other types of coronaviruses, it’s not likely that the person would be re-infected right away, but it is not yet known how long immunity might last.

False. Call your doctor or care team before you come to the hospital or clinic. Be sure to tell your health care provider about any chronic health conditions, such as heart or lung problems, so they can guide you on the best next steps.

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True or False? You can have a virtual visit instead of an in-person visit.

True. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends all Americans wear a mask or other face covering in all public settings where it might not be possible to stay at least 6 feet apart. This is because people who have COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms can still spread it by speaking, sneezing, or coughing. And in Massachusetts, it’s now required to wear a face covering while in public areas. Bottom line, if you’re exercising in an area where you might see other people, cover your nose and mouth.

True. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends all Americans wear a mask or other face covering in all public settings where it might not be possible to stay at least 6 feet apart. This is because people who have COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms can still spread it by speaking, sneezing, or coughing. And in Massachusetts, it’s now required to wear a face covering while in public areas. Bottom line, if you’re exercising in an area where you might see other people, cover your nose and mouth.

True. Boston Children’s is offering virtual visits (video appointments) for follow-up care in a growing number of our clinics. Ask your provider if a virtual visit is right for you or learn more about virtual visits.

True or False? The cafeteria in the hospital is open.
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False. Just like with mail, experts say it is unlikely that you can catch COVID-19 from food packaging. And it can be dangerous to put disinfectant directly on your food. Most experts say that the best way to protect yourself is to:
• Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol after leaving the grocery store.
• Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you get home from the grocery store.
• Wash your hands again after putting groceries away.
• Rinse fruits and vegetables before you cook or eat them.

False. Just like with mail, experts say it is unlikely that you can catch COVID-19 from food packaging. And it can be dangerous to put disinfectant directly on your food. Most experts say that the best way to protect yourself is to:
• Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol after leaving the grocery store.
• Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you get home from the grocery store.
• Wash your hands again after putting groceries away.
• Rinse fruits and vegetables before you cook or eat them.

True. The cafeteria in the hospital is open, but all services have been converted to “Grab and Go,” so there is no seating available.

True or False? If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, but have no symptoms, it’s okay to visit the hospital.
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False. An antibody test is a blood test that can tell if you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, because this virus is so new, experts don’t yet know if the antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 infection will provide immunity from future infection or how long any immunity would last.

False. An antibody test is a blood test that can tell if you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, because this virus is so new, experts don’t yet know if the antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 infection will provide immunity from future infection or how long any immunity would last.

False. If you test positive for COVID-19, we strongly encourage you to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days. After that time, you can visit the hospital as long as you are symptom free. Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 is not permitted in the hospital and is advised to seek medical care.

True or False? We need to bring our own face coverings to the hospital.
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False. An antibody test is a blood test that can tell if you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, because this virus is so new, experts don’t yet know if the antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 infection will provide immunity from future infection or how long any immunity would last.

False. An antibody test is a blood test that can tell if you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, because this virus is so new, experts don’t yet know if the antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 infection will provide immunity from future infection or how long any immunity would last.

False. Boston Children’s is providing all visitors over age 2 with ear-loop face masks upon arrival. You and your family should wear these masks at all times, except when eating or drinking. Please avoid touching your face or your mask, and be sure to wash your hands often in case you forget.

True or False? We can bring our whole family to our son’s visit.
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False. To help keep you and your family safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Boston Children’s has added temporary limitations to our visitor policy. Until further notice, only two adult caregivers may visit or accompany a patient to an appointment at one time. Visitors under the age of 18 — including siblings — may not visit. This includes visitors to outpatient appointments, inpatient units, and our emergency department. After your initial screening we ask that, when possible, only one adult enter the exam area with your child.

False. To help keep you and your family safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Boston Children’s has added temporary limitations to our visitor policy. Until further notice, only two adult caregivers may visit or accompany a patient to an appointment at one time. Visitors under the age of 18 — including siblings — may not visit. This includes visitors to outpatient appointments, inpatient units, and our emergency department. After your initial screening we ask that, when possible, only one adult enter the exam area with your child.

False. To help keep you and your family safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Boston Children’s has added temporary limitations to our visitor policy. Until further notice, only two adult caregivers may visit or accompany a patient to an appointment at one time. Visitors under the age of 18 — including siblings — may not visit. This includes visitors to outpatient appointments, inpatient units, and our emergency department. After your initial screening we ask that, when possible, only one adult enter the exam area with your child.

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Take our previous quiz and get more answers about Boston Children’s response to COVID-19.

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