LIBERTY, Mo. — As a nurse practitioner at a Kansas City metro urgent care and a firefighter husband, Ashley Breaux said her family took all the necessary precautions against COVID-19.
Then, in early June, their daughters contracted the virus.
"They both did virtual school this year," Breaux said. "The only thing they were doing was their dance studio, which did remove their mask rule about two weeks prior to them getting sick."
At first, she wasn't overly concerned.
Their 14-year-old daughter, Claire, quickly recovered. But, 9-year-old Charlotte continued to struggle. And that's when they realized she'd developed cardiac complications.
"At about the two week mark as she started having chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, she didn’t wanna get up," Breaux said. "She didn’t want to walk. She wanted to lay flat."
She quickly realized that in addition to the chest pain Charlotte was experiencing, her heart rate also was alarmingly elevated.
"A normal resting heart rate for a kid her age should be 90 to 100," Breaux said. "Her resting heart rate is 120. That heart rate should not even quite be her walking heart rate. Her walking heart rate is 140, and if she exerts herself, just by going up a flight of stairs, it’s about 170."
For now, doctors aren't sure why Charlotte is suffering this complications, and they don't have a treatment plan.
"My biggest concern is we don’t really know how to treat this," Breaux said. "We don’t know if we let her rest for as long as she needs? We don’t know if we put her on a beta blocker like we would an adult because, you know, we don’t know the safety of that long-term. And we don’t know if we don’t try and do something, if that’s going to cause her more complications down the road from letting her heart rate run so high and work so hard for an indeterminate amount of time."
For now, while the family waits and monitors their daughter, Breaux had this message to other parents, drawing on her personal experiences as a mother and a medical professional:
"For the last year, I’ve seen several children hospitalized, professionally," Breaux said. "And for my daughter, her illness wasn’t very severe. But, what’s long-term for her might be very severe. And there’s not a magic algorithm that’s going to tell you that you’re clear and you can be sure that won't be your kid."
Breaux said Charlotte was healthy and had no risk factor prior to these complications.
Now, they're not even sure if she has the stamina to return to school.
Breaux encouraged parents to not only vaccinate their children if they're eligible, but also has been advocating for masks in schools as a necessary layer of protection. She was among the speakers at Wednesday night's Clay County Public Health Centers meeting, where trustees recommended masking in schools.