The novel coronavirus continues to shake the world and bring everything to a pause. We hear a lot about the immunocompromised and elderly being at the greatest risk of harm if they contract the virus. But what about the most vulnerable of society? Babies and children? Parents already have a lot on their plates trying to adjust to the routines of the lockdown and being at home more often.
But there is a hopeful piece of news for parents that might bring some calm to their thoughts.
A recent Chinese study of coronavirus infections provides some insight into the disease in children and highlights the wisdom of at least temporarily closing schools. The study found that even though children typically only exhibit mild symptoms if infected, they can spread the coronavirus long after symptoms disappear.
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- a fever
- a dry cough
- sore throat
- fast breathing
- signs of dehydration, such as not peeing for 8-12 hours, no tears when crying, or being less active than usual
The measures that have been taken by our government are all beneficial in keeping your children safe. Make sure to adhere to keeping them at home and instituting proper hand washing routines.
What should you do if your child presents with symptoms?
1. It’s super important to try and stay calm. Your child will sense your stress and this may make them feel scared.
2. Talk to a healthcare provider
The ways you can do this is by:
- Calling your GP. Your doctor will know your child’s medical history and will know if your child has any special risks. The doctor will ask some simple questions and if they’ve been around someone with known or suspected coronavirus. Your doctor will let you know what to do next and if you need an in-person visit.
- Get a virtual consultation. Many medical aids and other healthcare providers have started offering this as an option. If the doctor thinks your child needs care right away, they will guide you on where to go. Check whether your medical aid supplies this as a service even before you may need to use it.
It’s most likely though that your child might just be presenting regular flu symptoms, which can be treated in the same way non-serious cases of the coronavirus are treated. This includes:
- Having only one person care for the sick child so others are not exposed.
- A child over two years old and can wear a cloth face mask. They should wear one when the caregiver is in the room. Don’t leave your child alone while they’re wearing a face mask. If your child can’t wear a face mask, the caregiver should wear one when in the same room.
- When possible, have your sick child use a different bathroom from others. If that isn’t possible, wipe down the bathroom with an antibacterial cleaner often.