Coronavirus (COVID-19) that broke out at Wuhan city in China, last year is fast spreading around the world with over 114 countries having confirmed cases.
With governments across the world doing everything to contain the spread of the virus, many people have been asking questions on safety measures to take amid the outbreak of the deadly virus.
Does COVID-19 affect children?
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), coronavirus being a new new virus, scientists are yet to provide sufficient information and evidence on the extent to which the virus affects children and pregnant mothers.
But what we know so far is that it is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus. It’s however, important to note that so far, there have been relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children.
While adults can be able to take care of themselves, chidren need to be guided to reduce chances of being infected with the virus.
So what does a parent need to do to protect their child or children from the coronavirus pandemic?
For staters, you need to understant how the the virus is transmitted.
One can get the virus by getting direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing), and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.
COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it. This include alcohol based sanitisers.
What to do if your child has coronavirus-like symptoms
UNICEF advices parents to seek medical attention.
But as a parent you should understand that some of the COVID-19 symptoms such as cough or fever can be similar to those of the flu, or the common cold, so there is no need to panic.
You are advsed to continue following good hand and respiratory hygiene practices like regular handwashing, and keep your child up to date with vaccinations – so that your child is protected against other viruses and bacteria causing diseases.
“As with other respiratory infections like the flu, seek care early if you or your child are having symptoms, and try to avoid going to public places (workplace, schools, public transport), to prevent it spreading to others, ” UNICEF advises parents.
Should I take my child out of school?
If your child is having COVID-19 symptoms, you ared advised to seek medical attention and follow the instructions from the health care provider.
“As with other respiratory infections like the flu, keep your child well rested at home while symptomatic, and avoid going to public places, to prevent spread to others, ” parents are advised.
Otherwise, if your child is not having any symptoms you’re advised to keep them in class, unless there is an official directive from the health ministry affecting your school.
In addition, ensure you teach teach your children good hand and respiratory hygiene practices. These includes frequent handwashing, covering cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throwing away the tissue into a closed bin, not touching their eyes, mouths or noses if they haven’t properly washed their hands. They should regularly practice this whether at home, school and elsewhere.
Precautions to take when travelling
Before making any trip overseas always check for travel advisory for the destination country.
This will hep you know if there are restrictions on entry, quarantine requirements on entry, or other relevant travel advice considering that many country’s around the world have suspended flights from certain parts of the world.
Ensure your family follows standard hygiene measures. This may include cleaning your seat, armrest, touchscreen, etc. with a disinfecting wipe once inside an aircraft or other vehicle.
Can pregnant women pass coronavirus to unborn children?
So far, there is no sufficient evidence to determine if COVID-19 can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy.
As research goes on, expectant mothers are advised to follow standard hygine measures to prevent themselves from being infected with the virus.
Is it safe for a mother to breastfeed if she is infected with coronavirus?
Breastfeeding mothers having COVID-19 symptoms are advised to seek medical attention immidiately and follow instructions from their health care provider.
“For symptomatic mothers well enough to breastfeed, this includes wearing a mask when near a child (including during feeding), washing hands before and after contact with the child (including feeding), and cleaning/disinfecting contaminated surfaces – as should be done in all cases where anyone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 interacts with others, including children, ” UNICEF says.
If a mother is too ill, UNICE advises that she should be “encouraged to express milk and give it to the child via a clean cup and/or spoon – all while following the same infection prevention methods”.