High River boy a particularly vulnerable Albertan during COVID-19 outbreak

A High River family is reminding Albertans that it’s not just seniors at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four-year-old Jaxon Lee loves the outdoors and anything with an engine.

He’s also one of the people most at risk in the midst of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Jaxon was born with cystic fibrosis, which affects the lungs and the immune system.

”All the mucus in his body is extra sticky, so if he were to get an infection, it’s a lot harder for him to clear it,” said Jaxon’s mom, Brady Hansen.

“He needs an antibiotic to get over a regular cold.”

On a normal day, Jaxon requires about an hour of breathing treatments.

While his family members are doing everything they can to keep him healthy, they’re also counting on other people to embrace social distancing and keep the virus at bay.

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“We still have to go to the grocery store and get the veggies and the fruit and the bread and the milk,” Hansen said.

“Just going into the grocery store is just an anxiety trip for me.”

Mount Royal University nursing professor Sonya Jakubec says there’s a bit of a misconception that only seniors are at high risk.

“That probably inhibits some people from maybe doing their best to adhere to the social distancing that we need right now to resist exposure,” Jakubec said. “People that have compromised immune systems, people that have underlying health conditions — as well as those over 65 — are at increased risk for worse outcomes when it comes to this virus.

“If you’ve got an underlying health condition, your immune system is already working overtime.”

High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass — a friend of Jaxon’s family — is urging people to smarten up.

“Practise your social distancing,” Snodgrass said. “Get serious about it because what you do can affect a thousand other people.

“You can be that one person that gets that one little kid sick.”

Snodgrass shared a Facebook post about Jaxon on Tuesday night in hopes a familiar face could drive the message home.

“We’ve got to keep on this thing because complacency can show up real quick through these times,” Snodgrass said. “High River is not new to these kinds of situations, with what happened six years ago with the floods. This is a long process to get through and it’s going to be crazy, no question.”

Fewer than 20 kids under the age of 14 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Alberta, according to Alberta Health Services.


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