How to talk to your kids about Coronavirus

It’s a well-known fact- kids get stressed and frightened too. And with so much misinformation about Coronavirus circulating out there, it may be time for you to sit down with your kids to address any fears they have about this virus and what we can all do to prevent its spread.

What kids should know about Coronavirus

According to the World Health Organization, Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain that was recently discovered in 2019. The new Coronavirus can be spread from person to person and is diagnosed with a laboratory test. Currently, Coronavirus has been found in over 100 countries including the U.S.

No one is really sure how this virus originated and spread, though it is known to have been spread from animals to humans.

Make sure your kids know the symptoms of Coronavirus

Most symptoms of Coronavirus show up in people within 14 days of exposure. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

If you experience the symptoms of Coronavirus, make sure to call your doctor right away. The virus can only be detected with a laboratory test.

Remember that if you are in good health and take care of yourself if you become sick, you are at a very low risk of developing complications from Coronavirus.

Have your family practice social distancing

COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for people with compromised immune systems, those with other underlying health problems, and the elderly.

Though the average person who gets Coronavirus will most likely recover in a couple of weeks, it’s still important to remember that you run the risk of exposing others to the virus if you don’t take extra precautions.

One of the best ways to do this is to practice social distancing, which is an effort to reduce contact between people in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Currently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have set up guidelines on how we can practice good social distancing techniques. Some of these include:

  • Don’t attend or hold large meetings or gatherings.
  • Avoid going to public places at peak hours unless absolutely necessary.
  • Keep your hands to yourself and don’t hug, kiss, or touch others.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue that is thrown into the trash right away.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds .
  • Practice good hygiene and keep your surroundings clean.
  • Stay at home if you feel sick.
  • Make sure to avoid visiting people who are at a higher risk of developing complications from Coronavirus including the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and those who have other underlying health problems.

It’s also important to remember that though you may feel perfectly healthy, you can still have Coronavirus and be asymptomatic, or not have symptoms. That’s why when you practice good social distancing techniques, you are doing your part in protecting those who are most vulnerable to Coronavirus.

When will the Coronavirus outbreak end?

Unfortunately, no one really knows. However, as mentioned above, the best way to prevent the spread of Coronavirus is to practice good social distancing techniques and hygiene. Currently, scientists are working to develop a vaccine to prevent future outbreaks of the virus.

How to reassure your kids about Coronavirus

Though this can be a time of great anxiety for families, it’s very important that parents reassure and help their kids understand how they can stay safe and healthy. Make sure to:

  • Not be afraid to answer your kid’s questions about Coronavirus. Do your own research so that you know all the facts about the virus and can answer your child’s questions accurately.
  • Discuss the Coronavirus in a way that is age-appropriate for your child. Try to use simple language and terms that your child will understand.
  • Monitor their media intake. Considering reducing screen time focused on COVID-19 to prevent anxiety and limit the spread of misinformation or frightening images.
  • Deal with your own anxiety. Learn how to manage your own stress and fears in order to avoid passing them on to your child.
  • Let your kids know what you are doing as a family to stay safe. Show your kids how practicing good hygiene and social distancing will help prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Always be available and willing to talk to your child.

 University Health System, in partnership with UT Health San Antonio, is a dedicated academic medical center that offers patients cutting-edge treatments based on the most current research in a safe environment. For more information about the developing Coronavirus situation, visit CDC.gov or universityhealthsystem.com/COVID19.