COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected the adult world of health, finance and even social interactions, it has also forced us all to rethink the safety of our children as they go back to school to face a potential influx of germs and infections. And we know that some of these germs could potentially have very serious consequences.
While we all want our kids to get the most out of their education, no one wants to sacrifice their children’s health to that end. At Medco ER & Urgent Care, we’re here to help. Our board-certified physicians have compiled 5 ways you can safeguard your child’s health while school starts back up.
“Despite a solid game plan in place that correlates with the school district’s reentry plan, parents are still concerned about sending their kids to school. However, by adhering to the proper guidelines, the risk of infection can be minimized,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora.
Tip 1: Immune System Boosters
“The best thing you can do for your child is to nurture a strong immune system,” said Dr. Vora. “Making sure your child gets a balanced diet each day with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, protein, complex carbohydrates and water, eliminating refined sugar and processed foods, and using vitamin supplements are good places to start.”
Establishing a regular bedtime with plenty of hours of sleep is part of teaching your child good sleep hygiene. This is an often overlooked aspect of having a strong, healthy body.
Keep tabs on stress levels. If your child runs at high levels of stress, over time this can impact the immune system. Do what you can to infuse laughter and fun into each day and talk through any difficulties to keep your child healthy and trouble-free.
Tip 2: Sanitize Clothes and Masks Daily
Have your children get in the habit of changing their clothes immediately upon coming home and placing them in the dirty laundry. Cloth masks should be washed each night and paper masks should be disposed of properly (not recycled). It may be more convenient to do a small load of laundry each night to ensure your child has sanitized clothes and mask to start each new day. Don’t forget to disinfect the laundry hamper and wash your own hands afterwards.
Tip 3: Teach Healthy Practices at Home
To prepare your child for a healthy school year and beyond, proper hand washing techniques are crucial. Teach your child to wash his or her hands every time after using the bathroom and before eating. Instruct them to wash hands immediately upon returning home and after changing clothes. Demonstrate the right way to wash between the fingers, under the nails and on the fronts and backs of hands for 20 seconds using soap and water.
Pack hand sanitizer in your child’s backpack for on-the-go cleaning. If your child moves from classroom to classroom throughout the day, consider packing non-bleach disinfecting wipes so each desk and chair can be cleaned before use.
Tip 4: Masks are a Must
Even more than backpacks, masks are essential back-to-school gear now for every student. But it’s not enough to give a mask to your child and send him or her out the door. Kids need to know the proper way to wear the mask – covering both the nose and the chin – and that they are not supposed to remove the mask even to answer questions or to talk to friends, and they should not share or exchange masks with friends.
“We should teach our kids how to sneeze and cough when wearing a mask. They should learn to cough or sneeze into the mask. If you can, pack an extra mask each day. Then, your child can swap out when it has gotten dirty,” said Dr. Vora.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle parents face in mask training is getting their kids to wear them for long periods of time. This actually may require practice at home to get the children desensitized to the mask.
Tip 5: Monitor Temperature and Symptoms
Taking your child’s temperature each day can be painless with a digital thermometer. This constant vigilance will help ensure your child is feeling his best at the beginning of the day. If your child has a headache, cough or runny nose, keep him/her home to be on the safe side, and follow up with a health care provider.
Get fast treatment at Medco ER & Urgent Care
At Medco ER, we are here all day, every day, to take care of your family when needed. Our board-certified physicians are always available and ready to assess your child’s health at a moment’s notice. If you are worried about exposure to coronavirus, talk to us about any noticeable symptoms. We can help.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road.
Call us @ 469-392-4000.
We’ve all seen the memes to combat the coronavirus scare that’s paralyzing the world: “Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands,” and there is a lot of truth to that glib comment. Social media has unending anecdotal remarks to offer in the never-ending quest to keep yourself and your children healthy during this busy flu and coronavirus season. But what do the medical experts have to say?
We’ve compiled our 5 best suggestions for staying healthy and avoiding the flu or coronavirus.
1. Wash your hands the right way
Yes, everyone knows we need to wash our hands frequently during flu season, but it might be a surprise to hear that very few adults do it correctly. Begin with warm water and plenty of soap. Make sure to wash the backs of the hands and the fingernails as well. Wash for 20 seconds, or two rounds of “Happy Birthday.” Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door.
Take time to remind and reteach your children how to wash the right way and quiz them on opportunities they have at school to wash and to use hand sanitizer. “Hand washing is the #1 way to get rid of coronavirus germs,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora.
2. Cover up
When you sneeze or cough, use a tissue or cover your mouth with your elbow to block microscopic particles from becoming airborne. Wash or sanitize after sneezing. Some people have opted to wear medical masks in public to reduce the risk of exposure.
3. Avoid contact
Avoid touching your face – eyes, nose, mouth – to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting germs. If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others. Don’t share eating utensils or glasses. Use your own towels, bedding and clothes and keep them clean. If you know someone who is sick, avoid that person until he or she has been fever-free for at least 24 hours.
4. Build up your immune system
Diets high in refined sugars and starches can weaken immune systems. Limit the amount of sugars and empty carbs you and your children are consuming and opt instead for extra vegetables and fruits at mealtimes and as snacks.
Consider adding foods rich in:
- Vitamin C – kiwis, lemons, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, oranges
- Zinc – dairy, eggs, meat, whole grains, legumes, nuts
5. Develop clever ways to protect your hands from germs
Think through your day. Do you have to touch elevator buttons to get to work? Do you ride an escalator or travel a lot of stairs? Does your store or ATM have a touch screen? Do you share a keyboard with others? How many public doors do you have to open as you go about a typical work day? Do you look at a menu at the restaurant? Begin strategizing how to get through your day with less contact with public surfaces. Do the same for your child.
Gloves, tissues, paper towels, a pencil and other devices can provide a layer of protection as you navigate. A natural antibacterial spray for the air, such as tea tree oil and water, can help cut down airborne germs. And, of course, don’t forget the hand sanitizer for times you have to touch a public surface and don’t have a chance to wash.
When should I go to the ER?
A common variety of flu can be treated with rest, fluids and staying home. Over-the-counter fever reducers, cough suppressants and decongestants may provide some relief. However, secondary infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia can crop up and they require prompt medical attention. As a general rule, if you are still feeling bad after 3 days, seek medical help. If you are having difficulty breathing or have become too dehydrated, go to the nearest emergency room (ER) immediately.
With the coronavirus, symptoms can manifest anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure. If you think you or your child may have contracted this virus, go to the nearest ER immediately. “Because the coronavirus requires containment and medical supervision, it is important that you tell your doctor right away if you think you have contracted the virus,” said Dr. Vora. “Include any information about recent travels and any exposure you may have had.”
Warning signs of coronavirus / COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
Where can I find help for the flu or virus?
For fast medical help, Medco ER & Urgent Care is available in two convenient locations. We’re always open, day and night, even on holidays. Within minutes of arriving, you will be ushered into a private room and will receive prompt care from a board-certified physician.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road. Call us @ 469-392-4000.
- Frisco: 5600 Eldorado Parkway across from McDonald’s and Costco. Call us @ 469-392-4100.