COVID anxieties:

Helping guide for parents

“Mumma when will the schools reopen?” “Will it be even safe to go to school Mom?”   “Are you going to be safe when you go to office Ma?” “I miss going down to play with my friends, when will this be over?” Questions like these keep coming up time to time during this lockdown period in which the little people who need social interactions the most have been locked down in the homes to keep them safe. They are concerned about their friends, teachers, schools, neighbours, family friends and everyone they were associated with. My almost 4 year old when for the first time said, “I want to go swing but we can’t go down since corona is down and it’s a lockdown”, I was surprised and sad that at such young ages these little ones have been confined to homes and it’s been almost one and a half month since they have even seen the building lobby. The elder one who is 9.5 years old is very worried about how will they keep themselves safe when the schools reopen. With the reports on migrants and their plight all over in news, he is equally concerned about people around.

I’m sure all the other parents are facing the same with each extension of lockdown. So, how do we make sure that our little people do not get worried about COVID of all things? Do we explain it all, or do we just tell them it’s all okay or a matter of few days or that it is going to take some good time? What do we do?

In the present situation it is essential that we keep in mind that the impacts of COVID-19 are going to stay for a long period. How it impacts will vary but it will be there. We also need to keep them prepared for a post-lockdown world. We need to educate our children about this virus, how it impacts, how it spreads and how to prevent it. Regular reinforcements and discussions are required so that when they finally start going out, they know what all to do and what not. As parents, we should keep their faith and trust instilled in the teachers, care providers and others and at the same time stay alert too.

Let’s start with introduction

Virus: Viruses are the teeny weeny germ particles which you can’t even see or know of their presence. These germ particles stay just like that until they enter a living cell. Cell you know is the smallest entity that makes the living beings. So, these germs are on the lookout to enter a living being so that they can grow in number and take control of the living system. So, basically it’s like an enemy entering a kingdom, attacking and taking over!

But that’s not so simple right? To enter the kingdom, the enemy needs an opening or a weak link. All these viruses have different entry ways and different war strategies.

Here, we will talk about the one enemy virus that has brought us all on our knees. Coronavirus!

Coronavirus, when examined under a really powerful microscope, this virus looks like a ball with spikes. Scientists due to this crown like structure named it corona virus (corona=crown)

How it enters the human body?

Till now it has been observed that largely this virus impacts human population only. It is still being researched as to how it entered the first human body but this virus moves from one human to another. If an infected person sneezes or coughs near a healthy person and the droplets, yes, the very very small droplets that may flow from that person to another can enter the human body with the air inhaled by the nose or mouth. You know what kids it can find an entry point through the eyes too!

Once inside the human body, our kingdom, it attacks our most precious system: the respiratory system or our lungs.

Remember we told you it has got spikes on it’s surface. Yeah! So it uses those spikes to attach itself to our cells and makes them inefficient. Initially it leads to a runny nose, sore throat and  fever but as the number rapidly increases, the infected person  finds it difficult to breathe and needs medical assistance.

Luckily we all have another system in place which is called the immune system. This system helps the body to fight against the invaders. Our immune system sends out an army of antibodies to fight against the virus. How effective our immune system is decides how nicely we can fight the war. Apart from the immunity, hygiene is the most important factor to prevent the spread.

Hygiene: our most efficient anti Coronavius strategy

This virus spreads from person to person. The entry way, by now, we know is our nose, mouth and eyes. So, how do we keep ourselves safe and protected when we start going out. Simply by social distancing and keeping care of our hand hygiene!

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Physical Distancing: We will keep a distance of almost one meter or like ten footsteps between each other. For some time, you are not to hug the teachers in the school or daycare, not even the parents when they come back from the office till you all have sanitized yourself. After that you all can have a jolly good time J. You will have to avoid playing while sitting very closely with your friends

Hand hygiene: Frequent handwash with soap and not just sanitizer must be done regularly

Keep your hands to yourself: While we are out, we will not touch any surface unnecessarily. As soon as we reach home or school or daycare, we will wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water.

No touch zones: Touching the nose, mouth or eyes should be avoided without getting a hand wash. Unnecessary nose and mouth touch is anyway not good. Right?

No jumping over grocery bags: You must have seen how the parents are taking care of grocery and fruits and vegetables. They all might have been handled by a contaminated person so all of them need proper sanitization and therefore children you should not touch any of those without taking a go signal from Momma

Let’s talk Immunity

Strong immunity along with better hygiene can help us in this fight against Coronavirus. To keep immunity strong, you should do the following:

Eat healthy: Include all food groups in your diet.

Make your meals colourful: Dear children, how do we add colour to our meals? No, not by adding candies or cakes but naturally through salads and green vegetables, pulses, rice, milk, ghee etc.

DIY: If you can read or understand what we are trying to say here then you can very well make at least one colourful or healthy plateful of immunity enhancing food by yourself. Let us tell you how.

a) Ask your Ma or Papa to give you sliced cucumbers, beetroot, tomatoes. Place them nicely on a plate. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, a spoonful of lemon juice and throw in some raisins or cherry or pomegranate to it and Voila! Your yummy, tasty salad is all set to be relished

b) Make lemonade. The vitamin C in lemon juice is a very good immunity enhancer you know. Make for yourself and your family too. Add some nicely washed mint leaves for additional health good

Exercise: It is very important that you do Pranayam to keep the respiratory system in good shape. Do some more exercises to make up for the lost play time

But why the lockdown?

Such a good question it is why have we been locked down? Why can’t we go out to work, school, play? Why can’t we meet friends?

Kids you know how it spreads from one person to another. Another thing you need to know is that once an infected person sneezes or coughs, the droplets must be coming down and settling down on a surface. These droplets if sit down on plastic and steel, live the longest. Active for 72 hours that would be three long days. So, if a person touches this infected surface and then puts his hand near the mouth or nose then the virus will easily get an entry way into the human body.

On copper, it stays active for 4 hours and on cardboard for 24 hours

To completely avoid the transmission, people must stay at homes. If people stay at home then the virus will not get an entry way and eventually die.

Lockdown has meant that you are not getting to meet your friends, teachers, relatives but this all will come to an end. We will all meet and then we will celebrate our coming back. It’s just a matter of time

Should you be worried?

No. you don’t have to worry. Just take precautions. Do as your parents ask you to. We adults are doing everything possible to keep you safe and protected. We will take you out of the homes only when we have devised ways to keep you protected. You are our future and we will do all the best that we can do, to keep you safe. Our Government, our doctors, our police forces are there to make things better.

Your schools and daycare are planning to keep things safe for you when they reopen.

We should soon see a vaccine, just like any of those one shots you get from time to time. Till then stay home, stay happy and follow hygiene practices

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