What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus

With coronavirus on everyone’s minds, we know parents are looking for advice to keep kids healthy.

John R. Schreiber, MD, MPH, Connecticut Children’s interim chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, joins the blog to answer your questions.

Is there any information on coronavirus that’s specific to kids?

What we know so far is actually a piece of good news: From what we’re seeing, this coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak hasn’t been hitting kids that hard.

  • The overwhelming majority of confirmed cases in China have been adults.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the limited reports of children who were affected mostly had mild symptoms such as runny nose, fever and cough — similar to a common cold.
  • If your family hasn’t traveled internationally recently, coronavirus is less of a worry at the current time.

Are there any special steps parents should take to keep children healthy?

Experts believe that coronavirus spreads from close contact, person to person, similar to the flu. So our advice for keeping your child healthy during this coronavirus outbreak is the same practical advice we use for cold and flu season.

  • Wash hands — theirs and yours — often and well with soap and water. (How well? Sing the “happy birthday” song twice!)
  • Make sure everyone covers their mouth when they cough, either by coughing into a tissue or their elbow.
  • Clean the surfaces in your home.
  • Avoid people who are sick, and keep your child home from school when they aren’t feeling well.
  • As always, talk to your pediatrician about any symptoms or questions.

Anything else parents should know?

No matter what age you are, the risk for contracting coronavirus is actually much lower than the risk of getting the flu. So if your child and you don’t have your flu shots yet, take the opportunity to get them now.

For the latest information about coronavirus, visit ct.gov.

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