Coronavirus: What parents should know and do – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health


Posted: February 9, 2020 at 6:44 pm

As a parent, you cant help but worry about the safety of your children. So its natural that as stories about the novel coronavirus that started in China flood the news, parents worry about whether their children could be at risk.

We are still learning about this new virus; there is much we do not know yet about how it spreads, how serious it can be, or how to treat it. The fact that so much is unknown is a big part of what makes it frightening. But there are things we do know about this virus and other similar viruses that can help us keep our children safe and well.

All of the advice below assumes that you and your family have not recently traveled to an area where there are known cases of coronavirus, or had some other possible exposure. If that is the case, you should call your doctor immediately for advice.

As of this writing, there are relatively few cases in the United States, and many measures are being taken to limit the spread of the virus. Its important to stay informed and listen to the advice of public health officials in your area and not panic if your child or someone else in your family or community gets a cough and fever. Its far more likely to be a cold, or influenza (flu), than coronavirus.

In fact, influenza infects millions of people every year and kills thousands. Every year, doctors and public health officials talk about ways you can keep you and your loved ones from catching the flu. Those precautions can also help keep you safe from coronavirus, as it seems that the two illnesses spread in similar ways.

In addition to the steps above:

If your child gets a fever and cough, this is what you should do:

Watch for warning signs of problems, and seek medical attention if they occur:

You should also check in with your doctor if your child has an unusual rash, is having a lot of vomiting or diarrhea or if there is something else that concerns you. I have learned over the years that parents have a very good spidey-sense when something is wrong.

Again: try not to panic. Theres a lot of misinformation floating around. Check reliable sources for updates, follow these tips, and call your doctor if you have any questions.

Follow me on Twitter @drClaire

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Coronavirus: What parents should know and do - Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health

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