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What Parents Need to Know About Coronavirus

March 11, 2020
Mom Daughter Handwashing 250

As a parent, watching the news and seeing the spread of coronavirus can be pretty scary.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses themselves are not new. Infants, children, and teens that have caught the illness in the past have experienced symptoms similar to the common cold. This coronavirus causes a new disease called COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

We’re still learning about COVID-19, which started in China.

We do know that healthy kids are much less likely to have a serious illness than elderly patients who are infected with COVID-19.

The experts at Baystate Children’s Hospital share the many ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus to your own household.

What to teach your kids

You can empower your children to take their health into their own hands by teaching them proper illness etiquette.

Wash hands

The best way to kill the coronavirus is to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Teach your kids to sing the happy birthday song twice to make it to the 20 second mark.

Make sure your kids wash their hands after going to the bathroom and before eating. Don’t forget to have them wash after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing too.

If there is not soap and water around, you can also have your kids use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Covering up coughs and sneezes

If your child is sick, make sure they keep tissues within reach. Teach your kids to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue away. They can also cough into their elbow, but help them understand coughing into their hands is a big no-no.

The virus spreads when people touch their eyes, nose, and mouth after getting the virus on their hands. Try to get your kids out of any bad habits like touching their nose and eyes.

How to keep your home safe

There are precautions you can take to make sure your home is a safe space for your children.

Disinfect surfaces

Do some early spring cleaning to make sure you have a healthy home.

The virus can live on common household surfaces. Disinfect household objects and surfaces on a regular basis to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Be prepared

If your child gets sick with fever, cough, and other viral symptoms, be ready for your child to stay home until they are well again.

That means having important medications at home.

  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: You can treat your children if they have fever or pain.
  • Saline Drops: These help with nasal congestion, especially for infant and toddlers.
  • Honey: For children over 1 year old, honey is the best medicine for a cough.
  • Prescription medication: If your child has a chronic medical condition such as asthma or diabetes, you want to be sure that you have any prescription medicine needed at home. Have a plan to manage their chronic illness, and speak to your pediatrician to create a “sick day plan.”

What to do when your child is sick

If your child does have a mild illness, they should stay home. This will ensure they do not spread that illness to others in the community, including the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

Learn more about what to do if you or a loved one is sick.