In most cases, kids won't get the symptoms as bad as adults will, but it's still so important to isolate if you find out you have Covid-19.
Many of us are coming into our second week of our kids being off school. A lot of us are still working from home and trying to get the balance right. And, in all of this hectic activity, we are trying to keep Covid-19 at bay - a virus that could have detrimental effects on those with compromised immune systems and the elderly.
Now that we are self-isolating, we have had to give up any childcare support we once had in the form of friends, family and grandparents. This raises the anxiety-inducing question - what happens if one or both parents contract Covid-19?
Adrienne So at Wired.com spoke to several infectious disease experts from Oregon Health & Science University, Stanford Children’s Health, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center about exactly this - here's what they had to say.
The experts claim that the first step is to plan for the worst-case scenario and designate a low-risk caregiver - this can be a friend or relative - for your children if both you and your partner need to be hospitalized. Due to the fact that the virus tends to have the worst effect on the elderly, Dr. Priya Soni, assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, advises:
"If feasible, it would be best to have the child stay with an aunt or uncle while the parents and child recover.”
According to Wired.com, "if you have no one to ask, a hospital can usually advise you on community resources for families in crisis."
However, it's important to note that according to the experts, if your children don't have asthma and neither you or your partner are high-risk, then it would be okay for you to stay at home.
In this situation, it is still advised that you self-isolate - using separate dishes and sleeping in a different room if possible, and washing your hands a lot. According to Wired.com, you should continue to do this until your healthcare provider maintains that you have a low risk of transmission - or about 14 days.
Dr. Roshni Mathew, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Stanford Children’s Health and clinical assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Stanford School of Medicine, also noted that infections in family homes are usually staggered - so if you get the infection, your partner will probably get it when you are recovering. This may bring some peace of mind to parents.
Now that you have a caregiver organized and you or your partner is self-isolating, disinfecting your home is the next step. When doing this, you should note that there is no need to go overboard - normal household disinfectants do a great job of getting rid of the virus on surfaces.
However, according to the experts, your bathroom may need extra attention. Dr Soni maintains:
“Several studies have come out regarding the role of feco-oral transmission of this virus, in addition to respiratory droplets."
Meaning, in short, that you will need to wipe down your bathroom after you or your sick partner has used it, as this could be a highly infectious environment. Speaking to Wired.com, Dr. John M. Townes, the medical director of infection prevention and control at OHSU Healthcare said:
“When you flush the toilet, there’s an aerosol that’s generated, a splashing of water out of the toilet, and that may contain virus. So you know it’s important to keep toothbrushes and so forth away from the toilet. [Everyone should] close the lid when they flush the toilet and wash their hands after going to the bathroom, for sure.”
So, in conclusion, wash your hands, practice social distancing, organize a crisis plan with a back-up caregiver for your kids and keep your home clean - especially your bathroom.