5 Precautions Parents Should Take to Protect Their Children from Coronavirus
by Sagar Mankar,
March 25, 2020
Neither the coronavirus disease nor the causal scare is showing any signs of dissipating any time soon. Most nations and continents are fraught with this novel strain of coronavirus that has ravaged 160 countries as of 20th March.
The countries worst hit by this pandemic are China, Italy, Iran, USA, and South Korea, to name a few. India is recently waking up to the coronavirus infection, and its full wrath is yet not felt in the country.
As of 20th March, there have been 194 confirmed cases and 4 fatalities in India. The Indian Government, as well as state governments, are undertaking all measures necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 before it expands to epidemic proportions in India.
It is no news now that public gatherings have been prohibited in the majority of Indian states to limit the virus's spread. Schools and colleges have been categorically and temporarily shut down, and offices in some regions have been closed lest the virus proliferates through a communal spread.
And, while this is stale news, its impact on the social structure of the country is glaring and concern-worthy; especially, for children, whose social lives have been unprecedentedly arrested. Their academic routine is in disarray and their playtimes in question. Nevertheless, in this period of a pandemic, the safety of your child precedes every other concern that exists.
So, What Can you do to Keep your Child Safe?
Adopting preventive measures for disease, specifically new and unknown, should be well-founded on adequate knowledge about it. It is essential for both you and your child.
Because, sans a reasonable foundation for taking proper precautionary measures, your child might stray from the habits that he/she needs to inculcate for safety. It is thus necessary to be informed of the disease and its spread before moving on to the precautions, which are again, equally essential.
What is the Coronavirus Disease?
Coronavirus is a broad classification of viruses primarily found in animals. To date, 7 strains of coronavirus have made it to the human threshold, and in most cases, they cause flu-like symptoms in an infected individual.
The SARS-CoV 2 strain (responsible for the novel coronavirus disease) is a highly contagious virus. However, roughly 85% of individuals who contract the disease only develop mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.
In the rest 15% or so cases, the symptoms are acute and could have long-term implications on patients, even beyond recovery.
How Does it Spread?
The novel coronavirus infections spread primarily through respiratory droplets sprayed when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. Secondly, it spreads through tiny air particles or aerosols (0.3 microns) that an infected person exhales; and thirdly, through surfaces or objects contaminated with the pathogen. Lastly, it can spread through the faeces of an affected person; although it is a rare case.
But, how to identify someone as infected by the coronavirus disease?
What are the Coronavirus Symptoms?
The symptoms noticed in patients of COVID-19 are:
Breathing problems like shortness of breath
In a sense, learning about how the virus spreads and its symptoms is a preliminary step towards protecting your child from the coronavirus infection.
Precautionary Measures to Protect Your Child from the Coronavirus Disease
Step 1. Restrict Social Interaction
First and foremost, you must limit your child's social interaction and urge them to stay home as much as possible. Follow the same restriction yourself, if possible. In that respect, avoid large gatherings such as public commute.
Because, in case you contract the virus, isolating your child would not be that effective. Also, on the same note, if someone in your community or locality has been tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease, ensure to keep yourself and your child isolated as a safety measure.
And even if social interaction is necessary, consider maintaining a metre or 3 feet's distance from others, especially around people who are showing coronavirus symptoms or have recently returned from an affected region. As mentioned previously, the disease mainly spreads through respiratory droplets; therefore, maintaining your distance from others would limit its spread.
Step 2. Maintain proper respiratory hygiene
Leading authorities like the World Health Organisation (WHO), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advocating proper respiratory hygiene as the key towards ensuring that one does not contract COVID-19.
What does it mean to maintain proper respiratory hygiene?
It means –
Washing hands regularly with soap and water – It kills the viruses present on one's hands.
Cleaning hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizers (min. 60% alcohol) where soap and water is unfeasible.
Covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow whenever coughing or sneezing and ensuring others around you and your child follow the same.
Withholding from touching nose or mouth with unclean or unwashed hands.
Using a tissue when coughing or sneezing and discarding it in a close-lid trash can and then washing hands immediately.
You need to make sure that you and your family members, including your child, inculcate proper respiratory hygiene as mentioned above for protection against the coronavirus disease.
Step 3. Disinfect your Home Regularly
One of the most crucial factors to bear in mind is that the novel coronavirus strain can survive for hours on different surfaces and objects.
According to a report published by the US National Institute of Health (NIH), SARS-CoV 2 can survive on inanimate surfaces for as long as 3 days. In specific, the virus can survive for 24 hours or less on cardboards, whereas on plastic and stainless steel, it sustains life for up to 2 – 3 days.
Hence, chances of contracting the virus from contaminated surfaces or objects such as steel doorknobs, handles, plastic bottles, etc. are significantly high. Therefore, you should consider sterilising your house at regular intervals, especially objects or surfaces that are touched often.
Researchers suggest that you use a disinfectant with either 62% - 71% alcohol content, household bleach with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, or bleach with 0.5% hydrogen peroxide for most effective sterilisation.
Step 4. Quarantine and Monitor if Showing Symptoms
If your child or someone in your family is exhibiting signs of the coronavirus disease, it is crucial to quarantine that individual for the time being. This measure will ensure that he/she is not spreading the infection to others.
According to the NIH study mentioned above, aerosols containing the novel coronavirus strain can remain airborne for approximately 2 hours after an infected individual sneezes or coughs. Hence, it becomes unsafe if you or your child is exposed to such unfiltered air containing the virus strain.
On that note, it is also necessary for the infected individual to wear a face mask at all times to prevent its spread to other family members.
Also, it is necessary that you monitor his/her symptoms and check whether his/her condition is worsening or improving. If it is aggravating, contact a health expert to learn about the protocol you need to follow thereon.
Step 5. Remain Updated of the Latest Information
Alongside the obvious precautionary measures you need to adopt, there is also a need to remain in the loop of the recent developments and information concerning the coronavirus disease.
Considering there is no coronavirus vaccine or medicine at this point which can counteract its effects in an infected individual, staying abreast of the latest information is your best bet to protect your child from COVID-19.
At the same time, you mustn't pay heed to information from unreliable sources such as random social media posts regarding COVID-19. Some might contain false or inaccurate content intended to stoke fear and anxiety in these times of crisis. Instead, refer to websites of WHO, CDC, or your local health authorities.
It is quintessential that you stay calm amid rising tensions concerning the paced spread of the coronavirus disease for your child. A sudden shutdown of schools and other educational institutes alongside restricted social interaction have thrown children's lives in disorder.
And, it might not be because they miss going to school, tuitions, or studying, but maybe because of a routine discipline no more bounds them. Henceforth, you need to ensure that irrespective of the prevalent condition, they are going on with their days in isolation within a schedule.
It should be appropriately segregated into studying and recreational activities like playing video games or streaming the internet. And, in a time when schools and coaching centres have been called off, it becomes your responsibility to guide your children in their academic pursuits.
However, if you are a working parent, it becomes challenging to ensure that; in which case you can register with Vedantu’s app or website and enrol them for our live interactive classes. Keeping in mind the crisis of COVID-19, we have made all our live classes free of cost to help them continue their academics without any hindrance. Additionally, students can also access our study materials and other learning modules for free. Now keep your child's preparation undeterred with our study material and NCERT Solutions Class 1 to 12 all subjects available on Vedantu site.
Register your child for our free classes now and help them make the most of their time at home.