Since the end of 2019, close to 100,000 people have gotten confirmation that they have the novel coronavirus which scientists have named, COVID-19. Of these roughly 100,000 cases over 3,000 people have died. Originally, Americans were told not to worry about it as all of the cases appeared to be located in the Chinese region in which the disease first struck. Now as many infected people have traveled from that region back to their homes, we’re starting to see it spread across the world. Recently it spread to the United States and there have been confirmed cases in at least 4 states. This has caused many people to become concerned and wonder what they can do to protect themselves and their families. This is especially true for children who are already constantly catching something and spreading germs. Before you stock up on supplies, bunker down and prepare to quarantine you and your family from the entire world, there are some important things that you should know.
Children seem less prone to contract COVID-19 – It’s actually been baffling medical professionals, but children don’t seem to be getting this particular strain of disease. Even the few that have, seem less prone to suffer serious complications from it.
Most cases of novel coronavirus COVID-19 are mild – About 80% of the cases of the people that get this disease are mild. So mild that they may even be mistaken for just a common cold. This may be another reason why it’s spreading so fast, because symptoms are so mild that people don’t think they have it and may unknowingly infect others.
Prepare yourself, but don't panic – Not for the apocalypse but for a potential quarantine. If someone at your job or your child’s school is suspected or confirmed to have novel coronavirus, COVID-19, there’s a chance that your family will be placed on a two-week quarantine. Experts are advising that you don’t go overboard but that you stock up on enough supplies that could sustain you for a month in the event that this were to happen. This includes medicine as well.
Be mindful of people more at risk in your family – Even though the virus is mild in most patients, there are some people who are more susceptible to suffering complications from it. Those people are the older people in your life and the people with compromised immune systems. You can do this by limiting your contact with them (grandma will forgive you later) and avoid hugging and kissing these people who are higher at risk for their own personal safety.
Avoid shaking hands – While kids aren’t known for mastering the firm hand shake, depending on the age of your child, they may follow suit and introduce themselves to new people with a hand shake. Both you and your children should avoid doing this during this time. In the event that someone coughed into their hands or put their hands near their mouth or nose and haven’t since washed it, you can avoid the transmission of any germs, not just those associated with COVID-19 by avoiding hand shaking.
Keep your house clean – This means not just cleaning but disinfecting as well. This especially applies to high-touch areas like doorknobs, phones and toys. Although this may seem time-consuming and never-ending, it will help prevent the spread of disease far better than any face-mask ever will.
Avoid watching the news 24 hours a day – This applies to getting news from your Facebook feed too. As much as you may think this is staying in the know, it’s more likely to just increase your fears and anxiety. If you do what you can, learning that there was one more case that was confirmed will do nothing for you. Sometimes the news we read isn’t always reliable either or meant to cause us to panic. Rather than getting lost down the coronavirus rabbit hole, if you really must do something, spend more time educating yourself about it.
If you’re really freaked about it, you can consider keeping your family away from high-traffic areas where you’re more likely to be exposed to the virus but there’s no telling how long until before this thing tapers down. In general, it’s advised that you go about your normal lives unless you absolutely have a reason to do otherwise. The things that you can change are to wash your hands properly and more frequently and to ensure that your kids do too. Washing your hands should happen for at least 20 seconds and should include washing your fingernails and between fingers. It should be done at a minimum before going out, when they come home from outside, after using the bathroom and before eating. Although hand sanitizer is a great supplement when you can’t wash your hands, it’s no substitute for proper hand washing. If you or a child is sick, as hard as it is, you can stay at home from work and keep them home from school to prevent the spread of germs.
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