24 Mar A New Age in Parenting
Pandemic. A word I learned about in nursing school, but one I never thought I’d have to incorporate into my life. Although we’ve experienced pandemics, the last being the H1N1 of 2009 (known to many of us as Swine Flu), the way in which this coronavirus has taken over our lives is a first. The word PANDEMIC alone sparks fear. But I think it’s important to understand that, although the media may worsen our anxiety, the labeling pandemic is intended to help the population decrease the occurrence of the disease. Our healthcare system will not be able to treat all the people infected (with proper beds in the hospital, along with insufficient number of respirators), if this virus continues to spread at the current rate. By issuing a pandemic, specific protocols have been put into place. And as I’ve watched COVID-19 unfold, I’ve really tried to focus on the importance behind the measures being taken in our country and around the world.
I thought a blog would be the best outlet to list, define and clarify everything having to do with this pandemic, and how we, as parents, should best approach minimizing the spread of the virus.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus disease, is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that attacks the respiratory system and is contagious (CDC, 2020). The way in which this virus spreads is through close contact—within 6 feet of another person—droplets formed from coughing and/or sneezing (CDC, 2020). This virus is also known to spread from touching an exposed surface and then proceeding to touch your face (including your mouth, nose and/or eyes) (CDC, 2020). This latter form of surface transfer is not believed to be the main way in which this virus is spreading (CDC, 2020). This type of virus is new and was first noted as an outbreak in Wuhan, China (CDC, 2020). It is important to note, this virus does not discriminate. COVID-19 can infect anyone, regardless of race, culture, or country of origin. At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 present itself in humans?
As stated by the CDC, the virus severely attacks the respiratory tract, along with symptoms of:
- Shortness of Breath
*Severe complications include pneumonia, multi-organ failure, and death (CDC, 2020).
Keep in mind that many who acquire COVID-19 experience mild symptoms. More severe symptoms, including death, can occur and certain at-risk populations are more likely to experience them.
Who is most at risk?
- Older adults (over 65)
- Immunocompromised Individuals
- Per the CDC, those with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk.
Such individuals include:
*Lung Disease (this does include asthmatics)
If you are a part of the higher risk population, click here to find out proper precautions on how to protect yourself from COVID-19. Staying home as much as possible, along with having enough food and water, is one important precaution during this time.
To see grocery hours for those that are over 65 years of age, are immunocompromised or pregnant, click here.
As a mother, one of the first questions that comes to my mind is: How can I best protect myself and my family from contracting the virus?
Proper hand washing technique, while avoiding face, eye, mouth, and nose contact are all effective means of keeping germs away. Also, make sure that if you just delivered your baby, you have supplies handy at home (i.e. formula in case baby doesn’t adjust well to breastfeeding, diapers, postpartum supplies for mom, infant’s Tylenol, diaper rash ointment, gripe water, etc.).
Many of us in California are already experiencing school closures and this is a highly effective way to hopefully minimize the spread of the disease. In addition, cancelling travel plans, avoiding crowded places and isolating people who are symptomatic or feeling ill from family members is key to preventing the spread of the disease.
With all this being said, I know people are desperate to figure out childcare, especially if they are full-time working parents. If you are needing childcare due to work, ask your childcare personnel if they are sick prior to allowing them in your home.
In addition, if your school has cancelled classes, starting your own homeschooling course at home with your child is a great way to pass the time and ensure your child is meeting school standards for their milestones. However, if your homeschooling includes other children from the community, please remember you are then exposing yourself to the possibility of having the virus enter your home and spread to you, your family members, and potentially other community members.
What if I’m pregnant during this pandemic?
The CDC explains that most of the cases that have been reported have been in adults (CDC, 2020). There isn’t sufficient evidence that pregnant women are at a higher risk than others (CDC, 2020). However, if you are otherwise already part of the at risk population, you must care for yourself with proper precautions to avoid becoming ill.
Another aspect to pay attention to while pregnant: If you are close to your due date and had been planning on delivering your baby surrounded by more than just your partner, it is important you follow up with the facility you are going to delivery with. New protocols have been placed in most locations (at least in Southern California) that restrict more than one person with the mother at birth. Reach out to your birth center and get more details about how this may impact you and your delivery.
Are my kids at increased risk?
Although there have been documented cases of coronavirus in children, there isn’t evidence that supports children are at higher risk. That being said, it should be understood that if your child is part of the at risk population (i.e. your child is asthmatic, immunocompromised, and/or has cardiac issues), you must care for them as the CDC states. Click here to understand how to properly prepare your home for your child during this time.
If I am not at high risk, does any of this apply to me?
Even if you are not part of the high risk population, you still play a vital role in keeping the community from further spreading the virus. You can still acquire the virus and pass it on to someone who is at risk. To translate: YOU CAN HARM THOSE AROUND YOU. It is recommended that all people practice social distancing as much as possible. If you’re choosing to go out and be around public places, practice proper hygiene. In addition, monitor your symptoms. If you’re sick, don’t expose others. Keep in mind, some states have had to implement lockdowns to ensure proper social distancing practices are enforced. Even having this implemented in my own state, I have heard many say they’ve seen their fair-share of individuals out and not practicing safe distancing from others.
What if I am feeling ill—how do I find out if I, in fact, have Coronavirus?
Click here and scroll down the page to see how the CDC would like you to proceed if you’re symptomatic. There is a helpful questionnaire that helps guide you on your next steps. For a direct link to the Coronavirus Self-Checker, click here.
Please remember that social media can definitely cause more anxiety. It is important to limit your exposure to online platforms if you are feeling overwhelmed with information. For reliable and accurate up-to-date information, check out the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO).
Information obtained from the Centers of Disease Control website (cdc.gov)
For a printable fact sheet on the Coronavirus Disease, click here.
For a tips on how to speak to your kids regarding COVID-19, click here.
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