Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, daily life looks a whole lot different than it did a few weeks ago. The routines that defined our life, like school and work, have been turned on their heads. It seems like every day we are hit with more changes, but safety, especially that of our children remains at the forefront.
The Centers for Disease Control has provided guidelines for protecting children from sickness, as well as what to do if your child does get sick. We've summed up some of the need-to-know information for you here:
Keep Your Kids Healthy
- Wash. Those. Hands. I know, I know, it's all you've heard for the past few week. But seriously, make sure your kids are washing their hands often and doing it the right way.
Keep everyone home. We all know what social distancing is by now, so make sure kids know what that means and why it's important. Now is not the time for neighborhood basketball games and playdates with friends, so limit playtime to the backyard. If possible, leave kids at home if you have to run out to any stores.
Cover up. If you do have to take the kiddos out in public, the CDC now advises cloth face coverings should be worn by anyone older than two. Masks can be made out of household items like t-shirts and bandanas and should cover the nose and mouth. For detailed instructions on making your own, visit this site.
Clean like you've never cleaned before. Because the virus can linger on surfaces, it's a good idea to regularly disinfect commonly touched areas and objects in the home, like light switches, tv remotes, bathroom counters.
What if my child gets sick?
A sick child during the coronavirus pandemic is probably every parent's worst nightmare right now. But don't panic. If your child is experiencing the common symptoms of COVID-19 including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the CDC advises you call your healthcare provider immediately. Depending on your child's symptoms, the office may give you a phone number for your area's COVID-19 resource center. You may also be scheduled for a telehealth appointment. Of course, if your child is experiencing emergency symptoms like difficulty breathing or persistent chest pain, call 911 immediately.
If you don't have a healthcare provider or their office is closed, call your state or local health department. To make it easy, the CDC has provided this list of phone numbers for each state's health department to call for concerns regarding COVID-19.
If your child is sick with something other than COVID-19 (bad timing, right?), your best option will still be to contact your healthcare provider. Because offices are trying to limit in-person visits right now, you will probably be scheduled for a telehealth appointment. Remember, don't bring sick kids into the pharmacy or other businesses.
Caring for a Child with COVID-19
If your child is diagnosed with COVID-19, follow the CDC's guidelines for caring for a sick family member to prevent spread to the rest of the household:
- Your child should stay in their own bedroom, and if possible, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the family.
- Always keep your doctor's phone number close at hand in case you see any change in their condition.
- Like other illnesses, be sure to provide your child with plenty of fluids and encourage them to rest
- Bring your child's meals to them in their room, and handle any dishes or utensils they've used with gloves. Wash used dishes immediately in the dishwasher or with soap and hot water.
- If your child is older than two and is not having trouble breathing, they should wear a cloth face covering when someone else is in the room with them.
- Wear gloves when handling your child's dirty laundry. The laundry can be washed with the rest of the family's using the warmest water setting possible.
Parenting during the pandemic has brought a totally new set of challenges that most probably could have never predicted. If you're feeling like you're in over your head, you're not the only one. Right now, remind yourself that the best thing you can do is take the necessary precautions to keep your kids healthy and know what to do if they do get sick. You've got this; we believe in you!