Chennai: Coronavirus, now declared by WHO as a pandemic of international concern, can be quite unnerving for anyone. The virus that originated in Wuhan, China, has affected thousands of people worldwide.
The symptoms of coronavirus infection can range from a simple cough with fever or shortness of breath to serious infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre prediatrician and medical administrator, Dr B Kannan briefs parents on how to keep children away from getting infected.
Person to person transmission
Coronavirus spreads through transmission from one person to another such as through droplets while coughing and sneezing from an infected person. These droplets can stay on fomites like door handle, metro seats etc. for four to five days. This makes it highly infectious and even fatal in a lot of cases.
Wash your hands often, use soap and wash for 20 seconds, wash after using the restroom or being in public places like malls, playgrounds. Sneeze covering your nose and mouth, sneeze into your elbows. Avoid touching your face. Don’t pick your nose, don’t rub your eyes, don’t touch your mouth. These are the common entry points of viruses into the body.
Parents should ensure their children use proper medical grade masks, especially when travelling through crowded places with a risk of infection, or even when communicating with strangers on the road. They should avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough as infected persons may not necessarily show any symptoms.
Self-medicating without proper instructions from a doctor can land you in trouble and cause problems for your entire health system. It is advisable to take children to a doctor immediately if they complain of headache or if you notice symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
Avoid unnecessary travel
Avoid unnecessary travel to any country, or even different States in India, till the threat subsides. Children are most prone to catching viruses, so restricting their travel and contact with strangers will reduce the chances of infection. Almost all countries are now heading towards issuing bans on visits of foreign nationals.
Avoid crowded places
Avoid taking or sending children to crowded places such as local markets, shopping malls, playgrounds or even metro trains or buses. Viruses are easily transmitted from one person to another at crowded locations.
Increasing children’s fluid intake is very important in such times. Drinking plenty of water can help keep viruses at bay as a dry throat makes it easier for viruses to enter one’s system.
Avoid raw meat
Uncooked meat or raw meat should be avoided completely. This can result in severe illness that come from animals, so one should ensure that the meat is cooked properly since coronaviruses are sensitive to heat.
Maintain good hygiene
Cultivating good hygiene habits such as cleaning hands before eating food and taking a bath after playing outside is essential for kids. They should regularly clean their hands with soap and water and take care not to touch their face with unclean hands. It is advisable to avoid hugs or kisses around this time.