- Manage kids' schedule but setting up a routine for them
- Ensure that they are physically active throughout the day
- Kids should eat immunity-boosting foods and sleep well
Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a lockdown in as many as 75 districts across the country. According to The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, children do not appear to be at higher risk of COVID-19 than adults. "While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date," says city-based paediatrician Dr Gorika Bansal. Fever, dry cough and shortness of breath are the three primary symptoms of coronavirus. In severe cases, the infection may cause pneumonia and breathing difficulties. In this article, we are going to talk about tips to take care of kids amidst coronavirus outbreak.
How you can protect your kids from coronavirus outbreak: Paediatrician explains
Dr Gorika Bansal gives the following tips to take care of your kids amidst coronavirus outbreak. You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to:
1. Clean hands frequently
2. Practise social distancing. Stay at home and avoid close contact with people who are coughing and sneezing. If you see someone coughing or sneezing, try to keep your kids as far away from them as possible. It's believed that the respiratory secretions from coronaviruses can't travel more than six feet. So keep a distance of at least six feet.
3. Clean and disinfect surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets and sinks.
4. Teach them to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue whenever they cough or sneeze or can use the inside of their elbow.
5. Teach them to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, as it has been recommended by the WHO. Also teach them how to use sanitiser which contains at least 60% alcohol.
6. Use a face mask if kids are sick .There's no need to use a face mask if the child is healthy .
7. Wash toys or other plush toys in warm water and dry them completely.
8. Vaccinate them with the flu shots as flu (influenza) cases are also on a rise. Not that there is any cross protection noted to COVID-19, but it definitely gives protection against viral colds caused by influenza strains. As it's very tough or nearly impossible to differentiate clinically with the symptoms if it's the flu or COVID-19 unless there is a history of contact or travel and of course the test.
9. Make sure kids get enough sleep and rest well and eat healthy foods.
10. Keep them well-hydrated with lots of liquids like coconut water and lemon water. It can help in flushing off the toxins and improves their immunity.
11. Stay calm and be well-informed of this illness and correct any rumours or misinformation that they hear. Simply reassuring them will help. Keep them away from the frightening news images that they may see on TV. Teach them to show empathy to those who are ill. Be good role models as parents
12. Try to limit playdates.
Dealing with school and childcare shutdown due to COVID-19
Since the government has decided to temporarily close schools and childcare centres to help slow the spread of the virus, parents should try to keep kids' days as scheduled as possible.
Here are a few tips that can help during coronavirus outbreak
1. Take this as an opportunity to slow down, and improve your bonding time with your child. Let's make the most of work from home culture by also spending more time with family. You can pray together, meditate, teach them yoga, eat together and bond over books or some common interests.
2. Read books with your child. Reading together strengthens the bond with your kids and also helps with their development.
3. Make time for active play. Take out the blocks, balls, jump ropes and buckets, and let the creativity go. Play games like peek-a-boo or hide and seek. Let your kids make up new games. Encourage older kids to make up a workout or dance plan to keep them moving. Singing, playing instruments, painting, gardening can be very relaxing and at the same time constructive things to do.
4. Keep an eye on screen time. Whenever possible, play video games or go online with your child to keep that time structured and limited. If kids are missing their school friends, try phone chats to stay in touch with them. But limit the media time as well .
5. Encourage healthy eating habits. Having good gut bacteria goes a long way in preventing many illnesses and also provides good immunity to fight against pathogens. The best way to increase microbiome is by eating a wide range of plant-based foods , which are high in fibre, and limiting processed foods.
6. Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
7. If you are concerned about getting hold of fresh produce while self-isolating, then stock up on frozen fruits, berries and vegetables. You can also buy canned fruits, beans and pulses. Regularly eating homemade curd can be helpful in boosting kids' immunity.
8. Resort to foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants like citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, pineapple, raw veggies.
9. Chicken soup or vegetable soups may help. Along with it usage of garlic, ginger and turmeric may be increased. This can enhance immune function. Nutritionists claim these herbs to be having antibacterial and antiviral properties too.
10. Lastly antibiotics can't treat viruses so they won't help with the coronavirus. So do not unnecessarily resort to them. Medicines for the flu probably don't work either because COVID-19 is different from the flu virus.
11. Seek medical care early for your child if they develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing .
So the best way is prevention, as scientists and researchers together are still trying to find a cure to this novel coronavirus . Stay indoors, stay safe and healthy!
(Dr Gorika Bansal, Paediatrician and Neonatologist, MBBS DCH (gold medallist) DNB)
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