As the deadly coronavirus spreads worldwide, and with cases now emerging in India, it’s not surprising that the global population is deeply concerned. With over 92,312 confirmed cases of infection and 3,131 deaths, parents especially are worried about the health of their children and ways in which they can protect their young offspring from contracting the disease.
Coronavirus is a general term used for a series of related viruses, of which many are found in animals alone. However, some strains do infect humans and usually cause symptoms that are limited to those of a cold. But in some cases the virus strain can transfer from animals to humans and result in a deadly disease (such as the SARS coronavirus in 2003 and the MERS coronavirus in 2012).
Experts are unsure about how the new coronavirus reached humans but believe that it originated from a bat and was spread at a live animal market in Wuhan, China, as many of the people initially infected were linked to this location.
This disease is worrying as it is spreading fast and causing thousands of deaths around the world. Most of the fatalities recorded are in older adults with previous health ailments, but it is still imperative to take utmost care as symptoms could land an otherwise healthy person who has been infected in hospital.
What are the symptoms?
Main symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Coronavirus infections in kids has been relatively uncommon and most people who have been infected appear to be older adults. It has been reported that children who have gotten it exhibited milder symptoms. Even so, there are some precautions that can be taken.
- As the virus spreads from person to person just like a cold or the flu, similar precautions should be taken.
- Regular and thorough hand washing with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds is imperative at keeping viruses at bay. Make kids wash their hands before they eat, after using the toilet, after being outdoors and on arriving from travelling outside, and after handling objects that can easily carry germs such as money, public door handles, etc.
- Carry hand sanitizer and use it on yourself and your children when there is no access to clean water and soap.
- Keep distance from people who appear sick with cold, cough and flu symptoms. Tell your children to be vigilant about avoiding people who appear to have these symptoms.
- When travelling by public transport, whether locally, nationally or internationally, be especially careful to maintain strict hygiene practices. Travelling to China and South Korea is not recommended unless necessary. Japan, Iran and Italy could also pose a threat but mainly to people with preexisting health conditions.
- Other than this, unless coronavirus has affected people in your area, there is no need to panic. If you do live in an area that has been affected, staying at home as far as possible and avoiding crowded places such as shopping malls and markets is advisable.
- The coronavirus is dangerous but remember that even influenza can cause severe symptoms and even death in cases. Getting your children the flu shot can ensure that they don’t get the nasty bugs going around yearly.
Should my kids wear a face mask?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of the US points out that it is not necessary for uninfected people to wear face masks - only those infected with the virus should wear N95 respirator masks to prevent it spreading.
This is a partnered post.