Tips to Avoid Covid-19 and Influenza viruses for Your Child
With the recent Covid-19 virus outbreak, many parents are understandably worried that their children may be at risk of exposure when at school or outside.
In times such as these, it is even more important to adopt good personal hygiene practices to prevent the spread of unwanted infections. Here are the top 3 personal hygiene habits to teach your children which will go a long way in preventing them from catching unnecessary infections.
Wash hands properly regularly with soap
Our hands touch many surfaces throughout the day. Most viruses spread via droplets and remain on surfaces waiting to be picked up by unsuspecting hands. Rubbing one’s eyes/nose subsequently allows viruses to enter the body. Hence, it is important to wash one’s hands regularly, especially before consumption of food and after exposure to a general public area, say for example, a playground.
Remember to wash hands with soap! Washing hands with water alone may not be effective in removing all unwanted bacteria or viruses. If a toilet is not available, alcohol-based hand rubs can be used but may be ineffective if hands are visibly soiled. Washing with soap is still the best.
Finally, be sure to teach your child how to wash their hands correctly. A good hand washing technique is necessary for the complete removal of unwanted viruses. Places that are often missed during hand washing are the spaces between the fingers/thumbs and dorsal surfaces of hands. Here’s a link on how to wash your hands properly.
Avoid being around people who are unwell
Teach your child to recognise an unwell person and to avoid close contact if possible. People who are visibly unwell will usually display symptoms such as coughing, sneezing/running nose and may also be running a temperature. Likewise, if your child is unwell, he or she shouldn’t be going to school and risk infecting others.
During this period, it is a good practice to avoid going to crowded public places to reduce the risk of transmission.
Teach your child how to wear a surgical mask properly
If you have to use a surgical mask for your child, be sure to make sure that it is properly fitted, otherwise it will not be effective. Remember the following pointers below.
- The mask should completely cover the mouth, nose and chin.
- Ensure that the proper side (usually colored) is facing outwards.
- Don’t forget to pinch the metal edge of the mask so that it presses and rests neatly around the nose bridge.
- Remove the used mask by holding the ear loops and not the mask itself.
- Replace the mask if it becomes visibly soiled or moist. (usually a few hours)
When should you or your child wear a mask?
(Updated June 2020)
Current scientific evidence has shown that asymptomatic Covid-19 patients may transmit the virus unknowningly. As such, it is now recommended that everyone should only wear a mask at all times when going outside. A properly worn mask prevents droplets from spreading if one coughs or sneezes.
Let’s all do our part to reduce the spread of infections. Stay safe and practise good personal hygiene.
Reliable Updates on the Coivid-19 Virus can be found here:
About the Author
Dr Mark Liew is a Certified Family Physician practising in Singapore. He juggles between being a businessman, a doctor and a family man with 2 active young boys. In his very modest spare time, he plays chess and hopes to become a decent player one day.