Keeping Children Healthy During the Stay-At-Home Order
COVID-19 and Children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are not as likely to suffer serious illness from COVID-19 and most reported diagnosed cases in the US are in adults. Children who get sick with COVID-19 tend to have mild symptoms such as runny nose, cough, and sometimes fever or shortness of breath. They also may have vomiting and diarrhea.
Contact your health care provider by phone if your child has symptoms of illness. If you or a family member is sick, refer to CDC guidance: What to Do If You Are Sick.
Children with the mild symptoms of COVID-19 can transmit the illness to others who may get much sicker, which is why the prescribed infection control measures are important for everyone in the family:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water scrubbing for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into the crook of the elbow.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as doorknobs; refrigerator, microwave and cabinet handles; light switches; remote controls; computer keyboards; etc., with disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray products.
- Clean and disinfect toys with wipes or disinfectant or clean in the dishwasher or clothes washer and dryer.
- Maintain a physical distance of at least six (6) feet from people who are not members of your household. Do not allow playdates with children who are not members of your household.
- Limit time with those susceptible to serious infection such as older adults (aged 65 or above) and those with medical conditions such as diabetes and heart and lung conditions. Communicate with extended family via mail, phone, email, or video chat apps such as FaceTime.
Some children as well as adults can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and not experience any symptoms. These “asymptomatic carriers” can unknowingly transmit the disease to others who may become very sick.
For this reason, the CDC now recommends that everyone above the age of 2 wear a cloth mask over the mouth and nose when out in the community in addition to maintaining a physical distance of six (6) feet from others.
Tips for Maintaining Mental Health
These are extraordinary times and are bound to cause stress. The major disruption of normal life is challenging for everyone and especially children.
- Monitor your children for signs of stress, such as excessive worry, prolonged sadness, difficulty sleeping, and decreased ability to concentration. See CDC guidance on Stress and Coping.
- Talk to your children about COVID-19. Provide factual information appropriate to their age and level of understanding. Reassure them that the taking the infection control measures above will help prevent them from becoming ill.
- Try to maintain a daily routine. Children tend to do better with structure and predictability.
- Help your children stay connected to friends and family via mail, phone and video chat apps.
Tips for Staying Physically Healthy
- Ensure that your children engage in physical activity every day. Allow them to play outdoors. Go for family walks, hikes, or bike rides. Practice soccer or baseball skills. Schedule physical activity breaks including dancing, yoga or stretching.
- Encourage healthy eating. This will help everyone feel better and may help with immune function to prevent illness. Strive to eat fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. Enlist your child’s help in preparing meals and snacks. Consider using the school division's Student Meal Service.
- Ensure that everyone is the family is adequately hydrated. Keep drinking throughout the day. Avoid soft drinks. Milk and water are best for children.
- Ensure adequate sleep.
- Keeping Children Healthy While School’s Out (CDC)
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19 (National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Nurses)
- Printable Brochure: Keeping Children Healthy During the Stay-At-Home Order (Albemarle County Public Schools)