Coronavirus - the scariest word in the world right now.
If you have watched the news at all in the last few months you have certainly heard the word Coronavirus at least once.
My daughter watches a special news show in the morning at school. Each day or a few days a week, they take some time in the morning to watch a more kid-friendly news stream from one of the popular news outlets.
Every day she watches it, she comes home with more information on what she has heard from the news station she has watched that morning. Of course, it's always bad news and usually involves deaths that have occurred.
I like that she's interested and that she knows what is going on, but - and I'll just be blunt here - it's scaring the crap out of them. They don't want to go anywhere public, they are afraid of touching anything, they are afraid of getting sick and dying.
Don't get me wrong, it is a little scary for all of us with everything that is going around in the media and we should all be watchful and take the precautions we can.
It seems to be spreading quickly so finding out everything we can and what we need to do to protect ourselves is important.
Did you know the flu has even been called a pandemic in the previous years?
There was a mom in our homeschool group that was so worried she didn't want to take her child in public out of fear. There were also a few kids that kept bringing it up saying it was going to "get everyone and everyone was going to die".
So, as a group, we decided we were going to talk about it one day this week and go over a few things we have found through researching so we could easily explain what it is in a way the kids would understand - without the word pandemic.
And this would, of course, be a good way to focus on a health lesson about good hygiene, hand washing, taking care of yourself, etc.
What is Coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. These have been around for a while and are often transmitted from animals to humans (aka zoonotic).
The reason it is making so many headlines now is that this in a new strain of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in which was first identified in Wuhan, China.
Because this is a new strain, we are still learning exactly how it operates, what causes it, etc. As of now, they are still testing to find out the specific source and there is no vaccine to help prevent it.
This new strain has traveled to areas outside of China and numerous countries now have confirmed cases that the CDC has tracked.
Just like the cold or the flu, germs spread in various ways, which is why it has reached so many areas.
How the Coronavirus Spreads
This is one of the things everyone is trying to figure out. Currently, they can go off similar strains, but because this is a new strain, there is still a lot of learning to do.
As of right now, it is through to spread by the following ways:
- Close Contact - By being close to someone who has been in contact with it- hugging, touching, shaking hands, etc.
- Through the Air - when someone sneezes or coughs.
- Touching infected surfaces or objects - While rarer, it may be possible that a person can get the illness by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
What Are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus?
In mild cases, the common signs of infection include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and sometimes death.
How Can You Help Keep Yourself and Your Children Protected?
We know there isn't much known about the Coronavirus and that there is new information coming out just about every day. Stay calm and don't panic. Panicking is only going to make things worse.
Take the necessary precautions, just like you should with other illnesses. The CDC recommends that you take precautions:
- Practice good hygiene.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands.
- Stay home when you are sick and keep the kids home if they are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds throughout the day, after using the restroom, before eating, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. You
- Use hand sanitizer throughout the day to help fight off the germs.
- If you travel or are planning any upcoming spring break trips, the CDC does have some special precautions you should take while traveling.
Just like with the flu or other illnesses, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms, you want to stay at home, don't send the kids to school and avoid public places so you're not spreading the germs.
If you have been in contact with someone who has had the virus and you are experiencing any symptoms, contact your provider.
There is a ton of information on the CDC website, read over, know what is going on and take the necessary precautions - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
These are some of the important tips and information that we will be focusing on when it comes to explaining it to the children. I know it's scary because there isn't a lot of "known" information, but it is important that we all take the necessary precautions so we can keep from getting sick with any illness.