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Protect The Children, Protect Each Other – Staying Healthy During The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

March 24, 2020
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen

COVID-19 is still a bit of a mystery and as a new virus that was brought into the world, we are left with so many important questions. We yearn to figure out a cure, we fight to figure out the best ways to protect ourselves, and we wonder who can get COVID-19 and what that means for those people.

 

One of the populations that parents have been most concerned about are the children. However, the CDC explains that while young children can get COVID-19, they are not at high risk. Rather, the ones to be concerned for are the elderly and immunocompromised. Of course, if your child falls under the immunocompromised category (if he or she has diabetes or asthma, for example), you should take extra precautions.   

Typically, children who have COVID-19 have mild cold-like symptoms including fever, runny nose, cough, and possibly vomiting or diarrhea, and while some children and infants have been very sick, it is perhaps more concerning that the young ones will spread the disease. 

 

Therefore, with the understandable concern for a child getting sick and an even larger concern for stopping the spread, we must take caution and protect our children from the virus.

Here are a few ways that the CDC says to do so:

 

  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer for a minimum of 20 seconds. 
  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)–as John Hopkins Medicine says, keep kids away from a crowd or at least 6 feet away from anyone who is sick with a cough or fever, including family members.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g., tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • Launder items, including washable plush toys, as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Launder items using the hottest appropriate water setting for the items and ensure that items dry completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other items.

While you may think that your child should wear a face mask or gloves to remain healthy, the above guidelines are much more important and those supplies (which are sparse nowadays) should be saved for the ones that truly need it. This includes anyone who provides care for the ill, doctors, nurses, and people with symptoms of illness. 

 

We need to protect our children, but we can have some sense of calmness that they will be okay. Just make sure to keep their hands cleaned, their things cleaned, and be cautious around others–for them and for the ones that they could infect.

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