Coronavirus: What Parents Can Do to Prepare

The COVID-19 coronavirus’ recent presence in the news may be alarming, but the risk of contracting the illness remains low. As the COVID-19 virus changes rapidly, it is hard for experts to predict how the current outbreak will unfold. There is a lot you and your family can do to remain healthy and be prepared. For tips to help protect against COVID-19, continue reading.

Don’t panic. It’s important to keep everything in perspective. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus is indeed scary – however, we need to take the numbers into consideration. At time of writing, roughly 100,000 cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been confirmed. That sounds like a lot, but the “regular” flu infects an estimated 1 billion people each year, with up to 45 million in the US alone. The media presence surrounding the COVID-19 virus is undoubtedly important to keep the world informed and educated, but statistics can often seem overwhelming without a frame of reference.

Wash your hands. This is your best defense against all illness, not just coronaviruses– wash your hands frequently, especially before and after eating, after using the restroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after touching high touch areas like light switches and door knobs. Studies have shown that we touch our faces as many as 23 times an hour, most often without even realizing it. As germs and bacteria enter our bodies through our mouths, noses, and eyes, touching our faces with unclean hands is the quickest way to become sick. It can be difficult to avoid touching your face throughout the day, so keeping your hands free of germs is your best bet. Practice proper handwashing with your kids to ensure they are cleaning their hands effectively. Have them sing Happy Birthday twice, or the first 3 verses of Baby Shark, to be sure they are washing for at least 20 seconds. We also recommend keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer or cleaning wipes (with alcohol) for when you’re on the go.

Masks – do you need one? The short answer is, probably not. Experts only recommend wearing a mask in very specific cases. For the average person, wearing a mask is not necessary, as the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still relatively low. Regular, thorough handwashing is the best defense against illness. If you are concerned about your need to wear a mask please speak to your health care professional. Regular surgical masks are not effective at keeping out the COVID-19 virus. If your doctor feels you should be wearing a mask, they will help fit you for an N95 respirator mask. These masks must be properly fitted in order to be effective, so it is best to talk to your doctor.

Stay informed and educated. New information about COVID-19 comes out daily, so it’s best to stay informed using reputable sources. Misinformation is easily spread, so it’s important to get your information from the experts. For the latest news, we recommend checking the CDC’s official website for COVID-19 to view recent updates and recommendations surrounding the coronavirus. For our Canadian readers, the official web resource can be found here.

Talk to your kids about coronavirus. Children hear lots of things online and from their peers at school, but a lot of that information can be misinformation. Your child may be feeling anxious or fearful about what they have heard about the COVID-19 virus. It’s a good idea to have a chat with them and ask them what they know about the virus and how they are feeling about the recent outbreak. By talking with them, you can correct the misinformation and ease their worries. It is also a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of handwashing!

Prepare for possible school closures. Some schools have already closed as a precaution and/or to give school staff time to develop a preparedness plan. Depending on how the coronavirus situation unfolds, we may see more school closures happen. To help prevent any significant disruption to your child’s education, consider online tutoring to help fill the gaps left by missed school days. Online tutoring provides the same high quality experience as in person tutoring and can help prevent your child from falling behind. To learn more about how Tutor Doctor’s online tutoring can be a convenient option for students, click here.