What Parents Need to Know if Worried about the Corona Virus
When infectious diseases make headlines parents naturally get a little worried, and this week coronavirus is in the news constantly. The coronavirus has infected more than 600 people worldwide, though mostly in China. As of Jan. 23, Chinese authorities have reported 17 deaths from the virus so far. Only two cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and officials are monitoring 63 suspected cases.
Here’s what you need to know, mama.
1. Don’t panic.
According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus outbreak is not an international public health emergency.
“CDC believes the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low at this time, but the situation is evolving rapidly,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said on a conference call with media on Friday. “We have our best people working on this problem,” Messonnier explained, adding that we will likely see more cases in the coming days.
2. There have been no fatalities in children.
The youngest victim of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus is 36 years old. Most of the fatal cases in China have been in people over 60 and more men than women have been impacted.
3. The family of coronaviruses is a spectrum of severity.
According to the CDC, most people will be infected with a coronavirus at some point in their lives. The common strains of coronavirus cause “moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold” while more severe strains, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrom (MERS) can be fatal.
The strain that is making headlines is a severe and novel coronavirus. It’s new and the similarities to influenza make it difficult for experts to distinguish it from all the other respiratory illnesses floating around this time of year.
4. There is a test for it.
When public health officials suspect someone may have coronavirus they can send respiratory and serum samples to the CDC and find out if it’s coronavirus or just the flu within about 24 hours.
5. There are steps to take for prevention.
To prevent the spread of the virus the U.S. State Department has issued its most severe travel advisory for the area of China (the province of Hubei, where the city of Wuhan is) most impacted by the coronavirus.
The CDC offers the following tips for protecting your family from the coronavirus (as well as other respiratory illnesses):
- “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.”