What Parents Need to Know About The Coronavirus

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It is cold and flu season and everyone is on high alert. Now with news that there is a new virus called The Coronavirus, it has everyone even more freaked out.

Well, I am here to share some news in a totally non-scary way. Here’s What Parents Need to Know About The Coronavirus.

What Parents Need to Know About The Coronavirus

First off, what is the Coronavirus?

According to the CDC, it is a common virus that has already been around for many years so isn’t exactly new. What is new is the strain of this type of virus.

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. Seven different coronaviruses, that scientists know of, can infect people and make them sick. Some human coronaviruses were identified many years ago and some have been identified recently. Human coronaviruses commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide. Two newer human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have been known to frequently cause severe illness.

The reason this is making headlines is because it is a new strain of the Coronavirus which was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It has also been the cause of over 25 deaths in China.

Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020

Map of confirmed Outbreaks Credit: CDC

What caused the virus?

Again, they believe it may have come from snakes but it’s really too early to know for sure (testing is currently being done).

There is a race to determine what this coronavirus is, and whether it behaves more like a SARS, MERS, or a common cold virus. A lot of efforts are being made to answer this. – Infectious Disease Expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

How worried should you be about it?

So, again, it is scary in the sense it’s a new virus but it’s basically too early to panic especially if you live here in the United States. Bottom line is – we can’t know what to do when we don’t exactly know what it is yet. Even the World Health Organization made a statement about this saying:

Infectious disease experts say you shouldn’t panic.

“The CDC is really on top of this,”  – William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

As far as I understand, as a parent you need to be AWARE of the new virus and how to protect your family from it the best way you can. 

How can you protect your family from it?

As of right now, it sounds like (based on what the CDC and WHO are saying) everyone needs to follow the same guidelines we do for cold and flu season. These include:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick

And of course, if you have little one’s, avoid taking them out to be around crowds this time of year. The CDC also recommends should you become sick, you can:

  • stay home while you are sick
  • avoid close contact with others
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
  • clean and disinfect objects and surfaces

Hopefully this puts your mind at ease a little. I know how scary some of these news headlines can sound and the truth is, it’s too early for anyone to do anything more than keep our kids home and away from sick individuals.

Trust me, with a baby at home, I wanted nothing more than to panic but after reading more about the Coronavirus, I decided it was too early to do that.

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