It’s true, no matter where you turn, you and your loved ones are being directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19 aka “The Coronavirus”. The virus that emerged out of Wuhan, a city in China, has forced schools, day cares, recreation centers, and libraries to close their doors to help reduce the spread of the virus. With all the media coverage you’re probably more sick of hearing about the coronavirus than from the actual sickness itself. So what’s a mama to do? Build a healthy level of hysteria and buy a large quantity of toilet paper? Or swallow that chill pill and take precaution? I choose the latter.
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Your children are resilient. Building immunity is a part of their daily lives. Snotty noses, fevers, and diarrhea are part of the repertoire with a growing little one. Colds and the flu are expected, outside of these norms is the coronavirus. Mamas, prepare yourselves for this year’s viral anomaly. Follow these simple steps to ensure your family comes out unscathed. First, let’s visit a few facts:
What Is The Coronavirus?
The coronavirus is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people. Most people (about 80%) recover without needing special treatment. However, the disease can be serious or even fatal in older people and those with underlying medical conditions. People with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill. The incubation period, the period between exposure to the appearance of the first symptoms, is within 14 days of exposure to the virus.
How Is It Spread?
Person to Person
The virus can be spread from person to person (within roughly 6 feet) by respiratory droplets in the air, usually through coughing or sneezing. These droplets can make their way into the mouths and noses of any persons nearby, then inhaled into the lungs.
Contaminated Surfaces or Objects
The virus can be spread by touching a contaminated surface or object. There is a chance that a person may contract the coronavirus if they then touch their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
The following symptoms are common and may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
Loss of appetite
Is it a Cold, Flu, or The Coronavirus?
People who get the coronavirus will experience it differently than others, with varied levels of severity and symptoms. The chart below compares symptoms of the common cold, the flu, and the coronavirus. However, if you are experiencing difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, or bluish lips or face, contact your health care professional or the public health authority in your area right away.
How At Risk Are Children?
According to JAMA’s February issue, the majority of patients with COVID-19 in China were between 49 and 56 years old. Based on evidence reported by the CCDC, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. Among confirmed cases, the Chinese Center for Disease Control reported that:
1.2% were teens
0.9% were 9 years of age or younger
Although these numbers are low, children are still susceptible. The biggest concern would be If the mildly ill child was to pass it on to someone who may not handle it as well.
Guide To Prevention: You & Your Children
1. Wash Your Hands
First and foremost, wash your hands often. This should be done with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food. Sanitizer does a great job of killing germs for the most part, but what it doesn’t kill stays on your hands. Washing ensures that the live germs and bacteria roll off your hands and down the drain.
2. Use Hand Sanitizer
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
3. Avoid Touching
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Without having freshly washed hands, please don’t touch you or your babies face. This is the easiest way to pass germs you have picked up prior to washing your hands.
4. Practice “Social Distancing”
Ditch the activities. As schools and workplaces shut down, you will probably want to keep your children away from the playgrounds, family gatherings, play dates, and unnecessary travel. This is the time to practice the “social distancing” that you keep hearing about.
5. Avoid Sick People
Sick people spread viruses through close contact with others.
6. Do Not Visit Hospitals
Unless you are following direction, do not visit any hospitals. If you or your child are under the weather with mild symptoms, it is best to remain at home and recoup.
7. Remain Hydrated
Water and food are essential for staying healthy and fighting off sickness for you and baby/child.
8. Have Home Cooked Meals
Preparing food at home is a good step for overall health, and it also goes along with practicing social distancing. There is a dire need to adhere to food safety and hand hygiene measures, which may not be practiced at every establishment. Even if the food is cooked following these protocols, it is possible the delivery person may touch the food directly with their infected hand or sneeze/cough over the food. A meal prepared by you is the safest bet.
9. Disinfect Surfaces Daily
Practice routine cleaning of high traffic surfaces. High traffic surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets/phones, and bedside tables. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the labelled instructions. These labels contain guidelines for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
10. Stay Calm
This is key. Don’t panic, you’ve been through colds and flus with your child and they came out stronger than before. Don’t add to the hysteria, now is the perfect time to teach your child these simple hygienic practices.
Guide to Prevention: Babies
In addition to the steps above...
Wash your hands before and after contact with your baby.
If you're breastfeeding, CDC has recommended that you continue to breastfeed your child.
What To Do If You or Your Children are Sick
Self-Isolate For 10 Days
If you have symptoms that are similar to the cold or flu, I repeat , stay home! These symptoms are mild so try to manage them with rest and hydration. Restrict activities outside your home, do not go to work, school, or public areas, and avoid public transportation.
Do not go to an emergency department, family doctor or walk-in clinic unless your symptoms worsen.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Wear a Face Mask
You should wear a face mask when you are around other people or pets, and especially before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
Seek Prompt Medical Attention If Your Illness Is Worsening
If you do need to visit an emergency department, family doctor, or walk-in clinic, please call ahead and describe your symptoms, any international travel within the past 14 days, and whether you have had close contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
As a mom, you are almost always the voice of reason. Lead by example and don't panic. Our actions matter right now more than ever. Stay current with what experts are saying, take precaution, and most importantly stay safe.