UK HealthCare

How to Talk to Children About Covid-19

Photo of father talking to daughter

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 17, 2020) – The risk that COVID-19 poses to children is very low. “In the largest study of COVID-19 patients, only 2% of all identified infections were in children and the vast majority of these were asymptomatic or very mild,” says Dr. Sean McTigue, UK HealthCare medical director for pediatric infection prevention & control and pediatric infectious disease specialist. “To date, there have been no deaths reported worldwide in children.”

That being said, COVID-19 is the main topic of discussion throughout the U.S. – your children probably have questions about what it is and are wondering if they should be scared. Here are some appropriate ways to discuss COVID-19 as a family:

How do I help them deal with stress or worry?

  • Be reassuring and supportive. Children respond to stress differently, so they may seem more clingy, anxious, angry or agitated.
  • Give them extra time and attention. Speak kindly and make more opportunities for play and relaxation.
  • Listen to their concerns. Don’t be dismissive or ignore their fears.
  • Respond with age-appropriate information.

What do I do about potential disruptions?

If my child has a chronic condition, what should I do?

  • Practice proper handwashing. Explain how and when to wash hands.
  • Sanitize surfaces and toys regularly. Use bleach-based products for surfaces that can handle it. Use a household cleaner or wipe to clean surfaces and objects that are used frequently. 
  • Consult with your child’s specialist. If you have to wait, be patient and remember that others are likely calling, too.
  • Avoid other people who are sick.

What do I do if my child is showing symptoms?

  • Call your primary care physician.
  • Avoid the emergency room unless your child genuinely needs emergency care.
  • If your kids are sick, keep them home. Be vigilant and wash your hands.
  • Protect yourself and others.

Other resources:

State COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-722-5725

State Updates: www.kycovid19.ky.gov

Lexington Coronavirus – COVID-19 Page: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/coronavirus-response

UK HealthCare Questions and Answers about COVID-19: https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/about/questions-answers-covid-19-coronavirus

 

 

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