How to keep your family safe during a pandemic
MANILA, Philippines - As a parent, the urgency you’re feeling during this enhanced community quarantine is normal. In fact, there’s an overall rise in anxiety that people all over the world are experiencing in the height of this pandemic, so much so that the term “coronavirus anxiety” now exists.
In a published study on the 2011 pH1N1 pandemic in Australia, “Parents (were observed to express) a great sense of urgency about needing to know what signs and symptoms of illness should prompt action and they appeared frustrated at the lack of information provided on this topic.”
As parents, feeling frustrated and anxious over the current situation is normal, but you are not helpless. There are things that you can do with your children to maximize their safety against infection.
Of these, physical distancing and proper hygiene is a must. This is because the virus can travel up to one meter from its carrier. For parents of growing children where physical distancing is hardly an option, hand hygiene is imperative, for both you and your child.
Proper hand hygiene consists of clean running water, a trusted antibacterial soap like Safeguard, the complete 20-second steps of handwashing, and drying your hands with a clean towel. Every part of the process is vital, especially in today’s health climate.
According to the 2018 study supported by the Australian Research Council, “Parents are the key enablers of whether or not their children comply with public health measures.” This means that you are a major influence on your children’s health and hygiene, including their habits.
According to Unicef, you can teach children to wash their hands by placing a safe stool before the sink so they can reach the soap and water by themselves. This not only builds their independence but also ensures that you can stay a safe distance from them.
If a sink is unavailable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) with at least 60% alcohol content. Rub your hands in the same manner as you would wash for 15-30 seconds.
Remind them to practice hand hygiene before and after meals, before and after playtime, and whenever the family comes into contact with other people.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), your parenting priorities during this quarantine is not only their physical but also emotional well-being. Spend one-on-one time with your child for at least 20 minutes daily. Switch off the TV and gadgets and just talk to them. Who are they now and what are their interests? If they have the same concerns as you on this pandemic, calm them down with correct and viable information in the simplest words you can.
An important reminder to both yourself and your family in managing your coronavirus anxiety is remembering that information is your best friend.
Know the symptoms of the disease and tell your children to alert you immediately if they feel any of the following: fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Symptoms can come out as normal flu and can escalate quickly, so it's vital to identify the first few signs immediately.
If you or your children experience the symptoms, stay in a ventilated and isolated room and inform any of your Local Government Unit (LGU) representatives. Call your pediatrician or the DOH hotline (02-894-COVID or 1555) to ask for clearer guidelines on how to proceed.
Another rational approach to this situation is in dispelling the COVID-19 myths going around. Take note that weather and temperature have nothing to do with how likely you are to contract the infection. And while advice on what to eat and folk medicine solutions do little harm, take care not to buy into the narrative that these “eliminate” the virus.
Keeping open communication with your children is key in monitoring your family’s overall health during this quarantine.
Don’t forget to also pause at the end of the day. WHO identifies your own well-being as a priority in order to support your children properly.
You may not have control over what’s happening around the world, but you can do your part in maintaining your family’s health and safety. That way, you also help bring the number of infections down, and in your own way, flatten the curve. - Rappler.com