The coronavirus is currently classified as an epidemic and continues to spread. The virus, also known as corona, began in Wuhan, China, and has infected nearly 7,700 people worldwide, killing over 170 people. Children are one of the most at-risk demographic groups to contract the virus.
“I would say parents, first and foremost, protect your children as you protect yourself. Ensure handwashing, avoid public areas where the virus may be present or contact with persons who may have a link to the virus or to an infected person,” said Dr. Rebecca Fischer of Texas A&M School of Public Health's Epidemiology & Biostatistics department in an interview with Al Arabiya English.
“There are no specific measures for those people in the most vulnerable categories, but we are advising anyone to use a number of precautionary measures,” said Mark Parrish, Regional Medical Director of International SOS, a medical and travel security services firm.
Here are some measures to help protect vulnerable people from coronavirus, based on recommendations from the World Health Organization and Healthychildren.org:
- Frequently wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. Parents and carers who are in contact with the elderly, children, or people with weakened immune systems should also wash their hands frequently too.
- Keep children away from others who are sick and keep them at home if they are ill.
- Teach children to be hygienic when coughing and sneezing, using tissues or their arm or elbow – not their hands. Throw the tissues away afterwards.
- Clean and disinfect your home, especially surfaces with which children frequently come into contact.
- When cooking, ensure good food safety practices, such as using different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and cooked food and washing your hands between handling raw meat. Make sure meat and eggs are thoroughly cooked through.
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
- If a person feels unwell, contact a medical practitioner immediately.
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