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Corona Virus: What you and the Kids need to know

Article by Maureen Kasuku
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Posted: March 10, 2020

News of the coronavirus COVID-19 is everywhere, from the front page of all the papers to the playground at school. If you’re a parent and wondering how to bring up the epidemic in a way that will be reassuring and not make your kids more worried than they already may be, here’s some info from the experts at World Health Organization.

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can infect both animals and humans, causing respiratory ailments as mild as the common cold and as severe as pneumonia. Rarely, animal coronaviruses infect humans and then spread among them.

You may recall the 2002-03 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which was an example of a coronavirus that jumped from animals to people.

LIMIT THE SPREAD OF GERMS AND PREVENT INFECTION

The Red Cross recommends following common-sense steps to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • Clean and disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching commonly used surfaces in public places like elevator buttons, door handles and handrails and avoid handshaking with people. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Follow the WHO’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • WHO does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
    • The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

GET YOUR HOUSEHOLD READY

There are things you can do right now to be ready for any emergency, and many of these tips will help you prepare IF  the coronavirus situation gets serious in the country:

  • Have a supply of food staples and household supplies like laundry detergent and bathroom items, and diapers if you have small children.
  • Check to make sure you have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications, and have other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.
  • Know how your local public health agency will share information in your community and stay informed. The Minsitry of health has an info and isolation centre at Mbagathi hospital Nairobi.  Dial *265# for more info.
  • Learn how your children’s school or daycare, and your workplace will handle a possible outbreak. Create a plan in the event of any closings, event cancellations or postponements.
  • If you care for older adults or children, plan and prepare for caring for them, should they or you become sick.
  • Help family members and neighbors get prepared and share the safety messaging with those who may not have access to it.

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Maureen Kasuku

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