What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are viruses that periodically arise in different areas of the world and cause Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), that is, the flu, which can be mild, moderate or severe.
The new Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been classified by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency of international importance (ESPII). Cases have been identified on all continents.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
Infection occurs when a sick person coughs or sneezes and expels virus particles that come in contact with other people. This mechanism is similar among all Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI).
Who does it affect ?
It is known that anyone can become infected regardless of age, but relatively few cases of COVID-19 in children have been reported so far. The disease is rarely fatal, and until now the fatalities have been elderly people who already had a chronic disease such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension.
What are the symptoms ?
The new Corona virus causes an Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), that is, a flu, which can be mild, moderate or severe. It can cause fever, cough, runny nose (mucus) and general discomfort. Some patients may have difficulty breathing.
What is the treatment?
There is currently no specific treatment or proven vaccine for any coronavirus. Treatment is symptomatic and if required, management is performed according to the severity of the patient.
How to protect children from corona virus (covid19)?
- Don’t kiss your baby and don’t allow them to kiss you.
- Don’t allow them to touch their hands as children often bring them to their mouths.
- Ask people to wash their hands to be next to the little ones.
- Wash your hands well before and after changing their diapers, and before breastfeeding.
- Clean their toys.
- Don’t take them to crowded places.
- Educate them how to protect themselves.
- Promote best hand washing and hygiene practices in homes and schools, and provide hygiene materials.
- Increase air flow and ventilation in rooms where they stay longer.
- Monitor the health of children and, if they are ill, prevent them from going to school, the children’s circle or the place where they take care of several of them at the same time.
- Encourage children to ask questions and express their concerns.
- Teach them to cough or sneeze on a tissue or elbow flexion, and make sure they don’t touch their faces, eyes, mouth, and nose.
- Family members must be constantly informed.
- Properly wash your clothes and other personal items.
- Take care of their hygienic habit of constantly washing their hand.
Regardless of age, we know however that this virus finds fertile ground in the weaker sections of the population: “People who have comorbidities, that is, other concomitant diseases, must be considered fragile because the immune system is not prepared to face the attack of a new virus. This is not only true for the elderly but also for the little ones: if, for example, among the cases that have registered today there is a child who has a tumor, it is clear that what made him vulnerable to Coronavirus is not so much the age as well as its overall fragility “, continues the expert of the SIP. Hence, not only the age counts but also the general health situation can expose the child to a greater risk.
Better not to send them to school if their nose runs
Although few cases have been recorded in children so far, parents wonder how to prevent the risk of infection. The child who manifests symptoms associated with the flu or Coronavirus infection must remain at home first of all to avoid transmitting the infection to his companions but also not to expose himself to other possible viruses with the risk of creating a greater viral load and thus also compromising his health “. In case of colds, coughs or other flu-like symptoms, therefore, it is better not to send them to school because, especially if they are very young children, they will hardly follow the hygiene rules to the letter and a cough or droplets of cold may suffice on the counter to trigger contagion even if it were a simple flu.
In case of symptoms, it takes ten days to observe:
Staying at home for a few days is not enough: “You have to give the child time to recover: therefore once he is cured, when there are no more symptoms, it is better not to go back to school immediately but make him do a recovery period of 6-7 days it takes to make him recover his immune defenses from an immunological point of view and avoid relapses “. In addition, the child who is at home with an infection – regardless of Coronavirus – must put in place a series of preventive behaviors to protect the family, for example wearing a mask that is used only by those who have the infection to avoid transmission.
The Rule: home soap and open windows
How we can try to protect them from corona virus risk? Some very simple rules can help ease anxieties. “It is good practice to ventilate the classes by opening the windows, to invite them to wash their hands, to explain to them that in case of sneezing they must do it by using their elbows, to avoid close contact with those who have cooled down, to throw away the handkerchief that is used to blow the nose and do not reuse the same “.
The problem is that in many schools soap is often missing: “Teachers can ask parents to collect money to buy liquid soap or children can bring soap from home in a box so that everyone uses their own”.
What if the symptoms are not evident and the child is a healthy carrier? In fact, it can happen and this is perhaps a possible ‘fuse’ for the infection since children live community life and are often also entrusted to grandparents who, if they present other pathologies, could be at risk.
- It is very important that children also follow all the prevention measures recommended to adults: wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 1 minute singing twice “twinkle twinkle little star” and remember to turn off the water tap with a tissue; do not touch eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who suffer from cough, cold or sore throat, hugs and handshakes; do not let anyone kiss the child and keep it at least one meter away from anyone.
- Teach children to sneeze in the elbow and not to exchange glasses and cutlery even in the family.
- Clean the surfaces where the child plays or studies with 75% alcohol (ethanol) or 1% chlorine-based disinfectants (bleach)
- Don’t take them to the park. Children, like adults, must stay home at this time, a walk in the gardens is not recommended, especially if there are other children or adults. I understand that it is not easy to keep children at home but now it is necessary, also because children can transmit the infection to grandparents, and for grandparents it is dangerous
- It is necessary to explain to the child (in a way appropriate to the degree of understanding and emotional maturity of each subject) what is happening around them. Not receiving explanations from adults in a context of well-perceived tension risks in fact generating an even greater anxiety than that which can generate a well-managed awareness.
- Beware of smart phones. Thoroughly clean the devices at least once a day and avoid having them used by other people, even from the same family, at the same time.
- Avoid handing over the phone during a call to your sister or mom.
- Do not take antiviral drugs and antibiotics unless prescribed by your doctor. There are no drugs or vitamins that can stop or prevent infection. If the child has a fever, stay at home, administer the usual antipyretic drugs (paracetamol) and warn your pediatrician on the phone without going to his office or even the emergency room. The pediatrician on the phone will advise you on what to do.
- There is no need to modify the diet, no food can be used to fight the virus.
- Stay indoors and play with them. You can do many of those things. For example, looking through old things, and finding something to show your child about how we were, how we played, where we went on vacation. Or read together, look at atlases, or why not even a cookbook. Or listen to music, choosing what i like and can like. Or play, with old games, new games or even no games, just what we find around: corks, cardboard boxes, twine, colored paper, glue, magic clay. Or look out the window and comment, what you see and what you don’t see anymore. Or use, this time well, the cell phone, to call the grandparents and ask how they are, or the friend of the school. In short, you don’t have to resort to ready things, video, audio or anything else.
Coronavirus (covid 19) : 10 tips to protect children from fear:
- TO LISTEN
Listening to children is the first step in understanding what their emotional state is, supporting children and teenagers emotionally and psychologically means, first of all, being close to them by welcoming their concerns and fears. It is essential to understand the needs in order to be able to give adequate answers to their requests.
- PROVIDE SIMPLE AND CLEAR INFORMATION
Telling the truth in the simplest way is always the best thing to do. To do this in the best way, each adult can refer to official sources, such as the World Health Organization . Giving information in simple language that is appropriate for their age is the best way to reassure them and facilitate understanding of what is happening around them.
- NO TO OVER-EXPOSURE TO INFORMATION
Avoid spending too much time in front of the media and social media , in order not to amplify the confusion regarding what they see and hear. Excessive exposure also risks being counterproductive and triggering mechanisms of rejection or excessive minimization of the situation. Continuing to show images of hospitals, masks and the constant updating of the number of infections and deaths, can only increase fantasies and negative thoughts.
- Reassure them on the protection measures taken
Explain to the child that adults and especially institutions are doing everything to protect them and those close to them. It is essential to make children and young people understand that preventive behaviors such as the closure of schools in some regions, the suspension of school trips and some aggregation activities throughout the national territory, are necessary measures to have greater control and guarantee the population a adequate protection;
- DEEPENING KNOWLEDGE
Proposing moments of in-depth analysis , including through play, to study the scientific themes related to the characteristics of the virus will help children and young people to feel more aware and also better understand the indications of the behaviors to be adopted that have been indicated by the health authorities;
- BE AN EXAMPLE
Adults must be the first to follow the correct behaviors: it is essential to be careful to express their negative emotions in front of children and teenagers , who could be influenced by the adults around them. It is also essential that adults follow scrupulously the rules and behaviors indicated by the competent institutions, involving children in doing the same.
- KEEP EVERYDAY
Not changing your behaviors and habits, unless requested by the competent authorities , is important in order not to create additional sources of anxiety and stress. For those who find themselves unable to go to school or attend the normal recreational activities they were used to, it is important to maintain a sense of normalcy through play and study even at home;
- DON’OT DISCRIMINATE
Avoid behaviors or statements that are discriminatory towards the infected or people who come from a specific geographical area. Again, adults need to be an example and be able to explain to children who commit discriminatory acts that this is wrong behavior. In the face of a child who should instead be a victim of discrimination, it is important to try to involve other parents, teachers and those close to the child, in order not to make him feel excluded, by sharing the correct information.
- USE THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT COME FROM THE NEW MEDIA
To reduce the sense of isolation, especially where children are forced into the home, digital technologies can be a useful tool for socializing and learning . However, it is necessary that parents and adults promote a conscious and correct use of these tools by children.
- SMALL GESTURES THAT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Finding new and fun ways to encourage children to behave correctly can help them make small gestures habitual. Sometimes even a simple nursery rhyme can help teach children that their hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds, as well as not putting their hands in their mouths or sneezing into the hollow of the arm. Little by little these little attentions, also creating fun occasions, will turn into healthy habits.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are the symptoms?
Remember that the symptoms closely resemble those of a common flu syndrome. The symptoms of new Coronavirus infection can be:
- Sore throat;
What to do if my child has a fever?
Avoid, in case of symptoms, sending the child to school or going to crowded public places indoors. Talk to your pediatrician about the symptoms.
With children if we have to move these days can we take public transport?
Use rationality. Better not to use crowded public transportation . If instead of 3 metro stops you can walk 15 minutes, prefer this second possibility. If you can choose the timetable, it is better to travel on vehicles at less crowded times and maybe letting the carriage full of travelers pass in favor of the one after. In short, activate the precautionary measures for a virus that for now, however, is very widespread compared to the seasonal flu.
At home from school, does that mean at home or can children go to the gardens or go for a ride?
Of course they can go to the park. The only indication is: avoid large aggregations. So no games, group workouts, carnival parties in the streets or where there is a large crowd, but take a snack with friends at home or in the garden. An account is quarantine and isolation, for those who have contracted the virus or for people who may be part of the virus chain. For everyone else, the message must be only: pay attention to places that are too crowded, because in percentage terms there can be a person with a virus. And this mainly affects adults.
Is it better to wear a mask when leaving the house?
No, the mask is only for healthcare personnel and people who already have a form of physical debilitation , already have pathologies. For very young children, it is enough to keep the normal precautions for seasonal flu: avoid someone sneezing on them and do not expose them to crowded places.
How should children wash their hands?
Children should wash their hands often, well and with soap and water, rubbing them for a long time. This is enough, even for adults.
What is the RISK OF MY CHILD getting sick with COVID-19?
Based on the available evidence obtained by the CDC, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some infants and children have been ill with COVID-19, adults account for the majority of known cases to date.
Is there a risk of carrying the virus with the clothes we use around and return home to the children?
It is not known how long the virus lives in the air but usually these types of viruses are deactivated within a few hours. There is no scientific evidence of transmission by material
How to deal with flu symptoms in children?
The initial symptoms of this flu are not unlike those of common seasonal influences. You cannot make the differential diagnosis yourself, but if the child has a fever there is a very high probability that it is seasonal flu. In front of fever, sore throat and difficulty in breathing, it is good to call the pediatrician immediately, not to go to the pediatrician, but to call. The pediatrician or general practitioner aware of the child / patient can give an indication of the case. Do not clog the toll free number, go to the pediatrician first, to the phone.
Schools closed for a week, just a week is enough?
From a public health perspective, one week doesn’t make much sense. There will be a physiological increase in cases in the coming days in Lombardy, I believe that the authorities will analyze the growth trend and decide. Incubation is a maximum of 14 days. The peak will arrive in a few days. It may take over a week to close.
Which mask should i wear ?
Use the mask (model FFP3) only if you suspect that you are sick or if you care for sick people.