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Jan 13, 2022

COVID Chronicles: Caring for Kids With COVID Cases

There may be nothing worse than worrying about a sick child. But, over the past few months that is exactly what health care workers and families all over Belize have had to do with the increase in paediatric COVID cases. In tonight’s episode of COVID Chronicles, News Five’s Duane Moody introduces you to a  paediatrician and two parents who talk about their experiences and offer some advice for those dealing with a child who has COVID.  


Dr. Maxsuel Xiloj, Pediatrician

“Your kids are accustomed to see a doctor dressed in a shirt and a short pants or long jeans or whatever and right in the COVID unit, we are all gowned up, everything is white and you can only see the eyes, so most of them start to cry. It is something you expect so what we try to do is have some jokes with them, ask them some questions they like. We try to entertain them. We try to be more friendly to them so that they can know that we are there for them trying to help them.”


Dr. Maxsuel Xiloj

Doctor Maxsuel Xiloj is the acting head of the pediatric unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Beginning in December, the healthcare facility has seen the largest number of pediatric cases since the pandemic began in the country back in March of 2020. But caring at home for children who have tested positive for COVID is no walk in the park either.  Especially if they are just under the age limit for the vaccine, your options for prevention may be limited.


Carla Ayres-Musa, COVID Survivor

“My youngest son is eleven and he doesn’t qualify for the vaccine yet. He was prepared to go and get it, he is dying to go and get it, but unfortunately we caught COVID before he had that chance. For him, it physically affected him the most; he had the most symptoms, he had the highest fever. But also I noticed mentally, he was stressed out about it as well. The first night when his fever was so high, I didn’t even want to check it; I just knew what I had to do to get it to come down. He said that he didn’t want to go to sleep because he was afraid of what was going to happen to him when he went to sleep. So he’s the first one in our family to have had it.”


Carla Ayres-Musa

Like Carla Ayres-Musa, Kristy Pou and her entire family also contracted the virus.  For Pou’s daughter, however, her bout with COVID was a different experience. She had no symptoms, but unfortunately had to be confined to her room and couldn’t play or visit with friends and family.


Kristy Pou, COVID Survivor

“We were one of the first set of individuals that tested before our first wave so from the beginning it was very traumatic for all of us because the stigma at that time, even being at the clinics it was horrible. It was stay far away; don’t come until we are ready to test. Her first instinct when she had to get swabbed, you had to prep her and tell her you have to. We can’t run from it, it’s gonna hurt, but you gotta be brave. So we got tested, we waited our seven days at the time and we found out we were positive. When we went home, it was difficult because the three of us tried to separate ourselves in different rooms so you’re not able to console each other. We did our home remedies.”


Kristy Pou

Both mothers speak of the toll that COVID has had on their children’s mental health.


Carla Ayres-Musa

“We were in it for about fourteen days; my older son probably a little bit longer because he tested positive later. And so his stress was “Oh why did I have to get sick last. And you know, now we can’t do anything, we can’t go anywhere. That also played a huge role on them. During COVID, we haven’t been going anywhere really – they might go visit their cousins and play ball with their friends, but with things being so restricted, they haven’t been able to do that. OUT 02:54

IN 01:41 We think that our children aren’t listening, we think that they don’t know, but it is all over the news, it’s all over whatever social media, whatever games they are playing with their friends, people are dying from COVID, people are in the hospital so that had a big impact on him.”


Kristy Pou

The virus did not leave our bodies right away. So we did a test at fourteen days, twenty-one days, going forward. And we did five tests before we got our negative result. And taking that test constantly traumatised her that the last test, she refused to open her mouth. We thought that her being around us was something that she was getting used to, being attached, not knowing that she was traumatised. She went to caye that week and she called every minute, check in every minute. It got to the point that my aunt said when she is not able to use the internet to call us, she got very anxious because her last memory being at caye was when we tested positive.”


Carla Ayres-Musa

“There was one night where I just sat by my youngest son’s bed the entire time, kinda falling asleep on and off there. And you know I think it is just even me as a grown woman, when I am not feeling well, I want my mom. My husband did his part as well – I am sure most dads do – but it typically does fall on the mother and so it becomes this very exhausting thing.”


Dr. Xiloj tells parents to do the best they can and stay calm.


Dr. Maxsuel Xiloj

“Most important thing is to keep calm. Do not panic because pediatric cases are more than likely to be mild or moderate; most of the time mild. So that means that you won’t panic and say oh my kid has COVID, I wah get frighten and do this. No, keep calm. Behave as you behave as normal, as normal as you can be around him. Always use your mask, if your child is COVID positive and hydrate.”


Carla Ayres-Musa

I think the biggest thing for me was that I couldn’t panic. And when you see a very high fever or my older son who had a terrible cough and couldn’t catch his breath and felt like he was going to throw up, I had to be very calm even though inside I am terrified. It is the middle of the night and we’re sick and it’s not as easy to rush out to the hospital when you have COVID. So managing those things, I had to remember that the doctors were telling me what I had to do; we were doing everything we had to do and just be as calm as possible so that the kids could feel calm and safe.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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