COVID-19 and What Parents Need to Know?

Recently a new and concerning type of Corona virus now known as COVID-19 has gone viral. Therefore, we wanted to share with you some tips and resources for understanding and combating it. So, what is new with this virus? COVID – 19 is a new type of virus not seen or identified before which means that medical professionals will need time to test for it in order to understand how it works, in order to limit its spread and protect those that are most at risk, while at the same time working to identify the treatment and develop a vaccine.

The good news is that children appear to be at lower risk than adults developing either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. But a study published recently found that even children are potentially at risk for moderate to significant respiratory disease, therefore it is important to watch the evidence as it evolves. It is also important for you and your children to steer clear from grandparents and others at greater risks, especially if any of you have any symptoms of illness, even if minor.

The Differences between Coronavirus and “the Flu”

The fact that Turkey is currently in the middle of cold and flu season makes it very challenging for both parents and health professionals to understand the difference between those who have flu and those who have symptoms related to COVID-19. So, what have they got in common? They both present with fever, sore throat and cough (sometimes headaches, body aches, shortness of breath, etc.) However, they are still very different. A treatment, vaccines, anti-viral medications already exist for treating influenza viruses, but the health professionals could not find a treatment for coronavirus yet.

How to Help your Children Understand and Help Prevent the Spread

Coronavirus calls both for taking it seriously and at the same time resisting the urge to panic. It is important to keep your family, your children and yourself safe during these times of such a pandemic. However, another important thing is to act quickly and carefully. For us, parents this means we should be updated with the latest recommendations while talking about it, explaining and practicing some of the advices for combating and help spreading the viral illness:

Stay away from people who are sick. Like many other viruses, this one also spreads through close contact, which means around 2 meters (this is the distance at which virus-containing “respiratory droplets” sneezed in the air can reach and expose to others). Therefore, first and foremost we should respect the rule of “social distancing,” stay at home with your kids if you have any symptoms, but also if you don’t have.

Keep your hands to yourself. Teach your children to wash your hands very often. The next few weeks avoid “hand-to-hand” contact and make it a habit to greet people with fist bumps, elbow bumps, or just wave, whenever avoiding contact isn’t possible. Remind your children and your family to not touch their eyes, nose, mouth, especially with unwashed hands because this is how viruses get into the body and cause infection.

Be careful of the things you touch. The virus can live on the surface of things for hours or even days, so it’s possible to come to contact with germs left behind by someone else who was infected. Which places are important? Countertops, light switches, doorknobs, grocery carts. Using disinfecting products or wipes can help limit their spread.

Wash your hands. Hand-washing continues to be the simplest, yet one of the proven strategies for combating the viruses of all kinds. However, this does not mean just rinsing our hands, but washing them with soap and water for a longer time. What works best is the CDC’s five step 20 - second assault on germ

  1. Wet your hands with clean and running water, it can be either warm or cold. Then turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Rub your hands together with soap, rub the back of your hands, especially between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. A very fun way to do it is singing “Happy Birthday” song twice from the beginning to the end.
  4. Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.

While doing all these things and teaching our kids to be careful it is important not to scare them. It is in your hands as a parent to give your children a sense of security and control by limiting what they see, hear and discuss to age-appropriate information. Let’s focus on the things they can do, such as saying “When we are careful not to spread germs and wash our hands, it helps us and everyone around us to not get sick.” One way to help reduce fear is limiting children’s exposure to television and other media coverage, as well as more serious adult discussions about the pandemic. Kids like adults, want information and the ability to act on it, but it’s up to you to decide how much they can handle.

How to Follow the Latest Information

In times like this, it happens that misinformation spreads faster than the virus itself. Therefore, it is important to stick to reliable sources in order to avoid confusion and stay updated with the latest accurate information. Some of the sources you can follow are: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health and your local health department. Check with your doctor regarding if and when your child needs to be evaluated.

Stay healthy, stay safe!


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