CoronaVirus: How much do we know about the virus?


As a parent, you can’t help but worry about the safety of your children. So it’s natural that like stories about the Novel Coronavirus or 2019 nCov that started in China flood the news, with the death count rising with each passing day, parents worry about whether their children could be at risk. In early 2020, this new type of virus was detected by the WHO.

What is Coronavirus?


According to WHO,Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

We are still learning about this new virus, 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 that can help us keep our children safe and well.

What are the Symptoms?

As of today, the symptoms of coronavirus, that could cause difficulty in breathing or sneezing or fever, portray that the infection primarily affects the upper respiratory system, with nose and throat. They could spread through coughing or sneezing or touching infected body parts or material.

A little girl sitting in protective mask

How to safeguard?

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 and no vaccine is yet available for the virus.

  • Make sure everyone washes their hands before meals, after being in public places or post being around someone sick, using soap and water and washing for 20 seconds.  If you don’t have a sink handy, hand sanitiser will do.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose if un-washed after touching any material or animal unknown.
  • Encourage healthy habits, like eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep, hence developing immunity.
  • Make sure your child has received the flu vaccine which is common and dangerous.
  • Carry tissues for wiping mouths and noses, and throw out used tissues promptly.
  • Children should be made aware of the surfaces they touch in public. Little hands seem to instinctively reach for everything around them, so being creative would be the key. We could bring things for them to hold instead, or hold hands with them.
  • If anyone in the family gets a fever and cough, they should stay home. Chances are it’s not coronavirus, but most likely contagious. Not only is staying home and resting the best way to get better, but also avoid panic among others.

Final Word of Advice

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

All of the advice below assumes that you and your family have not recently travelled 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.