Help children adapt to the ‘new normal’

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Clinical Quality Specialist: Mother & Child at Mediclinic Southern Africa shares ways parents and/or guardians can help children adapt to the ‘new normal’. PHOTO: KETUT SUBIYANTO @ PEXELS

In a recently published report, the NICD stated that even though the Coronavirus may be less severe in children compared to adults, the implementing and strengthening non-pharmaceutical interventions among children are most important to prevent them from contracting and spreading SARS-CoV2.

These include wearing face masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing and can be somewhat of a challenge, especially for parents of young children.

With this in mind ER24, approached Mediclinic Southern Africa for ways parents and/or guardians can help children adapt to the new normal.

“Covid-19 is a sneaky disease in that it spreads by taking advantage of things we do naturally, many times a day,” says Aline Hall, Clinical Quality Specialist: Mother & Child at Mediclinic Southern Africa. “Touching our faces and each other, coughing or sneezing without covering our mouths and noses – we do these things without knowing it. Now, we must think before we act.”

She advises parents and/or guardians to talk to the children before assuming they will adapt to this new reality. “Teaching your children why it’s so important to wash their hands, for example, or why they need to wear and look after their masks at all times, starts with explaining how this virus spreads from person to person and gets into your body.”

Covid-19 is spread through droplets – being in close contact with someone who is infected and coughing or sneezing – or contact: touching a surface that is contaminated and then touching your face; specifically, your eyes, nose or mouth.

Hall encourages adults to communicate with their children. “Encourage them to tell you how their school is adapting to the new cleaning and social distancing regulations, or if their friends are wearing or not wearing masks.”

Help them understand the risk and feel safe and confident enough to talk to you the moment something does not feel right. “Help them articulate how they feel. Are they experiencing headaches? Dizziness? Trouble sleeping?” A new way of living requires a new way of talking about our health and safety, says Hall. “If you help your children stick to healthy hygiene habits and teach them how safety measures keep them safe from germs, you can empower them to take charge of a healthier future.”

She offers the following tips to reduce YOUR risk of contracting the virus:

  1. Perform hand hygiene regularly with soap and water.
  2. Do not touch your face, eyes, nose and mouth – even if you are wearing a mask.
  3. Always perform hand hygiene before putting on your mask and after you remove the mask to prevent contamination of the mask.
  4. Never touch the inside of the mask.
  5. If you use public transport, keep the seats on either side of you empty if at all possible.
  6. Open the windows when you are sitting in a taxi or bus – good ventilation reduces the risk of infection if other people are coughing or sneezing.
  7. Try to maintain a distance of at least 1,5 metres between yourself and the next person.
  8. Any mask you wear should be washed daily with soap and water. Remember to wash your hands after washing the mask. Masks should never be shared. – Source: ER24

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