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It’s been a year of ups and downs. One thing is sure, though; our children need to be in school. In-person learning and socializing with other kids is an essential part of their growth.
As parents and caregivers, we want to ensure our children are safe. There is so much available information, and it’s sometimes challenging to decide what is useful. To help, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions from the Mayo Clinic experts to keep your family as safe as possible.
Practice Safe Distancing
Social distancing, or physical distancing, allows enough space between individuals to reduce the spread of disease. While distancing may not be feasible in all situations, the more room there is, the more reduced risk. Ask your child to do their best to practice safe distancing.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend wearing a face mask in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor events with a high risk of COVID transmission. Our schools are no exception. Data shows that people with COVID can transmit the virus before realizing they have it or begin showing any symptoms.
If your child’s school requires or encourages the use of face masks, consider these tips:
• Wearing face masks should be a priority, especially when it’s hard to maintain social distance, such as on the bus, at carpool drop-off or pickup, and entering buildings
• Have multiple face masks available for your child. Provide them with a clean and backup mask each day along with a clean, resealable bag for storing their mask safely at times when they take them off, like at lunch
• Label your child’s mask clearly, so it’s not confused with another child’s mask
• Practice properly applying and removing face masks with your child while avoiding touching the mask portions and instead focusing on using just the straps
• Remind them to clean their hands before and after touching their mask
• Instruct your child never to share or trade masks with others
• Discuss the importance of wearing face masks and model wearing them as a family
• Explain why some people may not be able to wear face masks for medical reasons
Never place a face mask on a child younger than age two, a child with any breathing problems, or a child with a condition preventing them from removing the mask without help.
Stay Home If You are not Feeling Well
Continually monitor family members for signs of illness, especially now. Signs may include:
• Nasal congestion
• Runny nose
• Sore throat
• Shortness of breath
• Muscle aches
• Poor appetite
• New loss of taste or smell
• Belly pain
• Pink eye
Teach your child to think of a song to sing and while practicing handwashing at home. You should explain why it’s essential we all wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after eating, coughing, sneezing, or adjusting our face masks.
When handwashing isn’t available, suggest using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Also, explain that they should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Clean and disinfect
Whether at home or school, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces can help reduce the risk of all illnesses. This includes items such as doorknobs, faucets, keyboards, tablets, and phones. Always use a disinfectant on high-touch surfaces as much as possible.
If Able, Consider Getting a COVID Vaccine
While adults can get the vaccine, there is still not full approval for children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine full approval for those over the age of 16. This vaccine requires two injections given 21 days apart. If needed, the second dose can be given up to six weeks after the first dose. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine. There is also an option for a third shot for immunocompromised individuals.
Research has shown that the vaccine is effective. And as a bonus, in the U.S., your vaccinated child won’t need to quarantine or get a COVID test after a known exposure if they don’t have symptoms (with some exceptions for specific settings).
Have more questions or need supplies? Call Clinics Can Help today: 561-640-2995.