SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Both Brad and Jessica Lewellen tested positive for the coronavirus in early June. Just when they thought they were in the clear, their 6-month-old baby boy came down with the virus.
The Sarasota couple says their only warning sign was a severe rash that developed all over the boy’s body in a matter of hours.
“One minute he had it, the next hour it was all over his back wrapping around his body. It was warm and hot to the touch and it was a little elevated and a little scaly so we said, we have got to get him tested,” said Brad Lewellen.
The results from the hospital came back positive for COVID-19.
The Lewellens all had different symptoms. For dad, it was a low-grade fever and some body aches that only lasted a few days.
For mom, the symptoms were much worse and lasted far longer. She had a high fever, chills, dizziness, diarrhea and loss of taste and smell.
The 6-month-old boy’s only symptom was the rash. Fortunately, he is quickly getting back to his happy, healthy self.
The couple shared their experience on social media in a post that has been shared more than 153,000 times. Their hope is to help other parents and bring awareness to COVID-19 in children.
“We just want to get the word out,” said Jessica. “It’s just a lot of people don’t know that kids do get it and they are just not aware.”
Since the parents tested positive, they’ve made it a point to keep a close eye on all of their children.
“I have two older daughters who are 10 and 6 years old and they are fine. They may be asymptomatic,” Jessica said. “They are not showing any symptoms, but we are treating them as well as our 6-month-old. We have kept them all in quarantine.”
“We have been taking their temperature every other day since I got it just to see if we see the normal signs. They’ve had no fevers, no diarrhea, no sweats, none of them have anything abnormal,” Brad said. “It was just me, my wife and my son that got it.”
8 On Your Side spoke with a pediatric infectious disease physician with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Dr. Juan Dumois explains COVID-19 can affect children of all ages, but it is those who are younger than a year old that are most at risk of ending up in the hospital.
Dr. Dumois explains there are a wide variety of symptoms associated with the virus in children.
“Children can have symptoms that resemble those of adults, they are just usually less severe. They can have a fever, they can have cough or congestion, they can have a rash,” Dr. Dumois said. “Some of the older kids will report they have lost their sense of smell or taste. Most of them are not going to be sick enough to be hospitalized and they can be managed at home just being treated as if they had another viral infection.”
Dr. Dumois says testing children is important in certain situations.
“It could be that if nobody in the family has been diagnosed with coronavirus and this child has been potentially exposed to other people like at a summer camp or at a day care center and they are now sick with any vague symptoms. It would be reasonable for that child to be tested so that the family members who have not been sick or perhaps have not had any coronavirus testing will know ‘oh, well if our child has it, maybe we have got it too and we, therefore, have to quarantine ourselves from going out in public and spreading the virus to other people,'” the physician explained. “Another situation in which is important for children to get tested is when they are looking more than just a little sick; if they are not eating, if they look like they are turning a little blue around their lips or if they are struggling to breathe.”