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How to Care for Kids If You're Sick With Covid-19

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. We asked pediatric infectious disease experts for advice and hand-holding. 

As a new parent, one of the first things you learn is that taking care of a baby  is really, really hard. In normal times, my husband and I lean heavily on an  extended network of caregivers—grandparents, friends, babysitters, and  daycare—for help with the monumental, sometimes mind-numbing task of  caring for young children. 

But these are not normal times. Social distancing has stripped us of our  caregiver network. It’s a necessary public health tactic to slow the fast and  potentially deadly spread of Covid-19 (in viral form it's known as the novel  coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2). But taking care of kids on your own is hard. It’s  also scary when facing the specter of grave illness. What happens if one of  you gets sick? What if both of you get sick? 

Designate a Caregiver 

First, let’s plan for the worst-case scenario. If both you and your partner are  incapacitated at the same time, or need to be hospitalized at the same time,  you need to designate a caregiver. Unfortunately, if both you and your  partner are sick, that means your children are also probably infected, 

We know that SARS-CoV-2 disproportionately affects older individuals and  risk of complications and mortality is highest in the elderly, so if feasible, it  would be best to have the child stay with an aunt or uncle while the parents  and child recover 


Before You Get Sick, Make a Crisis Plan: 

  • Who is going to take care of your kids?
  • Your dog?
  • Identify nearby friends or family members who can help and are not in a high-risk population.
  • Post potential caregiver contact information prominently so that emergency responders can find it. If you have no one to ask, a hospital can usually advise you on community resources for families in crisis.   

 We have no family nearby, so I have asked several childless, low-risk  friends to be emergency caregivers 

Isolate, but Stay in Your Home 

Now for the good news: “Unless a family member is at higher risk for  contracting a severe case of Covid-19 or any viral illness due to age and/or  existing health complications, then the same measures are recommended  for Covid-19 as would be for influenza or another viral respiratory infection 

Keep High-Traffic Areas Clean 

There are plenty of smart ways to clean and disinfect your home, but you don’t  need to go nuts. If your spouse is quarantining in the bedroom, you don’t  need to wear gloves and dump his contaminated soup bowl into a vat of  boiling bleach. “We don’t want you doing disposable trays or anything like  that,” “We know this virus is very easily cleaned by household cleaners. You  don’t have to mix your own detergents or buy anything super strong.” The important exception is the bathroom. “Several studies have come out  regarding the role of feco-oral transmission of this virus, in addition to  respiratory droplets,” said Dr. Soni. In other words, when he uses the  bathroom, your sick loved one is shedding virus in the form of gross flying  poop particles. 

Prepare your child mentally: Keep your child informed about the plan without sounding  alarmist. Such a situation is bound to be harrowing for them too and a conversation about the  possibility of it happening can help them manage their anxiety better. Speak in a calm and  reassuring way, explaining the process step by step. Reiterate that the recovery rate for COVID 19 is high 

Monitor symptoms: Monitor your symptoms as well as the 

child's closely. If your child is old enough to take temperature readings, teach them how to do it  correctly. The CDC recommends that temperature is checked twice a day. Also inform the child  on what other symptoms they should watch out for, whether that's coughing or shortness of breath. Keep a list of emergency contacts, including your healthcare provider and ambulance  numbers, in an accessible place and tell your child about it too. 


Minimise risk: According to the CDC, everyone at home who is above the age of 2 years, is  able to remove the mask by themselves and does not have breathing issues, should be masked at  all times if there is a COVID-19 patient at home. Surfaces should be disinfected frequently. A  distance of at least six feet should be maintained between you and your child. Any item you give  the child should be disinfected, except food. 

Figure out communication: If you have COVID-19, you will not be able to hug your child or  touch them in any way without putting them at risk. Children, especially younger ones, may find  this very difficult. Even if you are sharing the same space, you can consider coming up with  creative and fun ways to communicate, just to liven up the atmosphere. Perhaps you can speak  over the phone (with your child using one that you don't use), make video calls or send each other  emails if you have devices that are not shared. Get a family member or friend to speak to them  regularly over the phone. 


Be kind to yourself: Remember that you are unwell and need rest. Don't take on more than  you can chew. Keep housework to the bare minimum. Reach out to support groups or online  therapy if you feel you need to talk to someone about your situation. You can also read about  how other parents have managed such situations to get ideas and stay calm.

 

Pooja Shah is a post graduate in economics and worked as a teacher in a reputed institution for almost 5 years. She is a mother of two kids, she is an avid reader and carries passion for writing.

 

Found this article useful? Read more blogs at www.themomstore.in 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.

 

 


1 comment

  • Nice blog…

    Yashodha Rao

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