‘It’s scary for children’: Mom discusses 3-year-old’s COVID-19 diagnosis, experimental treatment

POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. — It started with a fever that wouldn't go down.

Jamie Peckio, 32, took her 3-year-old son's temperature and was frightened when it came back at 104.8 degrees. Even with Tylenol, Joseph's temperature wouldn't drop lower than 102 degrees.

Then came the lethargy. And the sore throat.

Adding to Peckio's stress? Due to his age and relatively minor symptoms, seemingly nobody would see or test her son for the novel coronavirus.

"My pediatrician wouldn't see us because of the potential exposure. I had to call around to these drive-through (testing centers), but they wouldn't see minors," Peckio said.

Peckio eventually was able to find a COVID-19 test for Joseph, which came back positive. Peckio, who works in a dermatologist's office, was "very emotional" at the initial diagnosis.

Jamie Peckio poses with her three-year-old son, Joseph. Joseph recently recovered after testing positive for coronavirus.

Shortly thereafter, Peckio also started showing mild symptoms herself, and was told to assume she was positive. "My 3-year-old, who already tested positive, coughs in my face," Peckio said.

"It's a newer virus, and you don't know much about the long-term complications," Peckio said. "It's scary for children, and scary for adults — not knowing how many us have contracted the virus but have no idea."

Over 4,000 people in Ocean County have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The Ocean County Health Department has reported 22 positive cases in Point Pleasant Beach.

Statewide, over 71,000 people have contracted coronavirus. Over 3,000 people have died from it.

Things turned around when Joseph was prescribed azithromycin, an antibiotic that has been the subject of some experimental treatments for coronavirus patients.

"It seemed to be a miracle," Peckio said. Within 24 hours, Joseph was back to himself.

Jamie Peckio's children, Joseph, 3, and James, 4, pose on her Point Pleasant Beach porch. Joseph, left, recently recovered after testing positive for coronavirus.

That's when the real difficulty began. Peckio tried to contain her son to two rooms in the house, in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible.

Even when he was feeling sick, it was hard enough to contain Joseph.

"And then he's feeling better, but we're still trying to contain him," Peckio said. "That was the real challenge."

Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @byMikeDavis

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2020/04/16/coronavirus-child-diagnosis-treatment-scary-ordeal/5143504002/

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