What it’s like to have a medically fragile child amid COVID-19 outbreak

Leah Robilotto's family. Photo courtesy of Leah Robilotto
Leah Robilotto's family. Photo courtesy of Leah Robilotto

Food Allergy Institute founder Leah Robilotto said having a  chronically ill child can be “a day to-day struggle.” But, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, that stress is heightened.

“If my son catches this it is more than likely to be life-threatening,” she said.

Her 10-year-old son, Miles, has severe asthma. As a result, their family of four has been isolating in their home for 10 days.

But, Robilotto said she has not seen caution from other families around them.

“This is not going to help if everyone is still going out,” she said.

Robilotto also said she wished to see more guidance from the state on social distancing.

“When I was looking at the governor’s speech last night I was enraged. There is no way to keep my kid safe when other people are going out,” she said.

In addition to concerns about her Miles’ exposure to coronavirus, Robilotto said concerns around the virus has prevented her son from getting medical treatment he needs.

“The only place we can get treatment for it is in Houston, and we cannot travel,” she said. Miles’ condition causes his lungs to fill up with fluid, which can be very painful. Robilotto said her family will not be able to travel to Houston for treatment until the pandemic ends.

Shoppers panic-buying groceries has also placed strain on Robilotto’s family.

“As a food allergy parent, there’s a very limited amount of things my kid can eat. By families hoarding food, its hard to get the food they can eat,” she said.

Robilotto wishes people would stay home out of compassion for families like her’s that have medically vulnerable children.

She said, “I’m not alone there are a lot of families like me who are struggling.”