What Parents Need to Know About Coronavirus

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The risk to children and families in the UK is currently low, but advice from experts is to, of course, remain vigilant.

What is the new Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that usually live exclusively on animals and are common causes of colds and respiratory tract infections – the chances that you have already had a form of a Coronavirus is fairly high, but “every once in a while, a rogue coronavirus jumps from animals to humans, and is more severe,” states one Doctor.

As we know, at the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus began making people sick in China. The virus is also called 2019-nCoV, novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

This new Coronavirus is a particularly strong strand and therefor has more dangerous impacts both in affect and in spreading.

How Does the New Coronavirus Spread?

Professionals and experts are still learning how the new coronavirus spreads. In general though, coronaviruses spread through droplets sent into the air when people cough or sneeze in close proximity to others or onto surfaces that others then touch in some way.

Should Parents be Worried?

The new coronavirus is spreading rapidly throughout the world and the coverage from most news outlets is more or less focusing on it, so it’s no surprise that parents are increasingly on edge. According to the most recent reports, more than 83,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus and at least 3,000 have died since the outbreak began in December in Wuhan, China.

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Experts are still investigating and in the scheme of things, it’s still early days, so we don’t have a lot of knowledge about it. However, we seems to be seeing a trend where it causes a milder impact on children than on adults or the elderly.

Should parents be taking precautions at this stage?

The party line is this…

You should take the same precautions you would take to protect your child from the common cold or flu.

As normal, encourage your children to wash their hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Alcohol-based gels can work when out and about, but generally, they’re not as effective as soap and warm water. Remember to wash hands before children eat, after they use the toilet or come inside from outdoors.

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If you see someone coughing or sneezing, try to keep your kids as far away from them as possible! Apparently, experts believe that secretions from coronaviruses can’t travel distances of more than six feet!

If there is an outbreak in your area, then have a go at ‘social distancing’. Essentially, stay at home and binge on Netflix, rather than going out and about. There’s a lot of talk about schools closing – so take advice from your school on what they suggest and if you can work from home, do.

The other advice is that if your child hasn’t had a flu jab, they should. All the press is about Coronavirus but flu is still knocking about and can still be dangerous.

I’m pregnant. Should I be concerned?

No more than you should be already about getting the flu.

If you’re pregnant you’ll know that during pregnancy parts of your immune system are less efficient making you more susceptible to complications from viruses such as influenza. Pregnant women, for example, are nearly 3.5 times more likely to end up in the hospital from the flu than women who aren’t expecting, according to a study published in June 2019.

So, it makes sense that a pregnant woman would be at a greater risk of getting Coronavirus than a non-pregnant one, but it’s important that you keep in mind that your current risk in general of getting this disease is very low.

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If you’re in any doubt about anything or have more questions, don’t hesitate to find information online or contact your GP.

The latest advice from the UK government can be found here.

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