Corona. The entire globe is buzzing with news regarding this new pandemic and where some people are starting to hoard like there is no tomorrow others don’t really care that much. The first thing parents probably ask themselves is: how safe is my family? In this article you’ll find some answers to you questions that hopefully puts your mind at ease.
What is a coronavirus?
The term refers to a family of viruses, all similar in many ways. Coronaviruses are named for their appearance: Under the microscope, the viruses look like they are covered with pointed structures that surround them like a corona, or crown. Most coronaviruses live exclusively in animals, but scientist have identified 7 different strains which can infect people, including the latest string SARS-CoV-2 causing the COVID-19 outbreak.
Where did COVID-19 started and how is it spread?
This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person to person. COVID-19 has been detected in people throughout China and 79 other countries. Many people originally infected with it in Wuhan had a link to a large seafood and live animal market, which suggests infected animals there spread the disease. Investigations are ongoing as to how this virus originated and spread. There are still a lot of unknowns, including how contagious it might be.
What is the incubation time of COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?
According to health professionals it seems that symptoms are showing up within 14 days of exposure with the virus. Typical symptoms of the COVID-19 virus are:
- shortness of breath
- general flu symptoms
What parents need to know about COVID-19
Right now there is no need for parents to panic. Cases in children have been very rare. A report published in JAMA in February states that most people infected with the coronavirus were between 49 and 56 years old. “It appears that when kids do get it, they have much milder symptoms”, Dr. H. Cody Meissner, M.D., chief of the division of pediatric infectious disease at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases says.
The Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is also very clear: their website states children are not more at risk for the corona virus compared to adults. There is no need to be extra concerned.
What steps should parents take?
Dr. William Schaffner, M.D., a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center says that parents should take the same precautions they would take to protect their child from the common cold or flu. This virus spreads readily from person to person, akin to influenza.
Encouraging your child to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the most important thing. Although there is a run on alcohol-based hand sanitisers and they can help a bit, they are generally not as effective as soap and water, Dr. Meissner said. Hands should at least be washed in the following situations:
- before children eat;
- after they use the bathroom;
- come inside from outdoors;
- being in contact before and after any sick person
It is also recommended to sneeze in the inside of your elbows and to use paper towels.
The virus has contaminated someone in my city, what should I do?
There is no need to go into total lock-down and go into apocalypse-mood. If there is a corona outbreak in your town, Dr. Schaffner said you should practice what’s known as social distancing. Keep at leas six feet away from people who sneeze or are coughing and avoid social gatherings. “We believe that the respiratory secretions from coronaviruses can’t travel more than six feet,” Dr. Meissner explained. If it’s an option to work from home it’s preferred, but not a necessity. Most importantly: follow the rules of your government or municipality.
How does this virus affect my child’s school or daycare?
Update: Schools and daycares are closed from March 16th till April 6th. If you work in a vital profession there is daycare available. Contact your school or daycare to see how they’ve arranged the situation.
At this moment according to The Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) there are no measures to close down schools or daycares.
When to call a doctor
If your or your children have not visited any of the risk areas (China, Singapore, South-Korea, Iran, The North of Italy: Aosta-valley, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino-South-Tirol, Friuli-Julian-Venice, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna en Liguria) of the outbreak and your or they are not feeling well it’s more likely you or they have the common cold or flu. It’s very unlikely there is a contamination of a corona virus.
If you or your children did visit the affected areas and your or they are not feeling well and have fever stay or keep them eat home with limited contact. If your family visited the area within the past 14 days and you or they are coughing/shortness of breath combined with a fever you need to call your doctor.
Measures (update March 15th)
Schools, daycares, clubs, restaurants, coffeeshops, brothels and gyms are closed from March 15th 6:00 PM until April 6th.
Supermarkets and shops are open.
Maintain socials distancing and keep a space between each other of at least 1.5 meters.
If you’re not feeling well, stay home.
If you can, work from home.
For more information regarding COVID-19 visit: