Hey there, mamas! I wanted to address the lunacy surrounding us with the coronavirus. Known as COVID-19, it really sounds like doomsday stuff, or at least the kind of thing from 12 Monkeys back in the 90s with Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis.
If you Google anything about this latest virus to come out of mainland China, you might be inclined to panic. Please don’t. That’s the media trying to get ratings. I’m giving you 2 vital resources here that you should check for information daily that are NOT biased:
Ok, so now that you have that, I want to bring you back down to a level of normalcy. Please don’t forget that we’ve had SARS and MERS, Ebola, Zika, H1N1, and plenty of others, and we have all been fine. Panicking isn’t going to keep you and your family healthy. It’s not going to make it go away. All it’s doing is crashing our markets and ruining businesses.
Of course, if you’re a mom like me or soon getting ready to meet the baby in your belly, you might have heightened concerns, so here’s a big virtual hug, and now, here are factual answers to your questions that will definitely give you peace of mind.
Because you have to spend most of the time at home, I wrote a guide on how a mama can spend quality time with family in this difficult time.
Pregnancy and COVID-19: Can my unborn child get it?
While things are still in a preliminary period, there’s very good news here. It seems that so far, no pregnant moms have transferred COVID-19 to their babies.
You will want to do everything you can to avoid getting sick while pregnant. That includes the common cold, the flu, and yes, the new COVID-19. A high fever during the first trimester can lead to birth defects, so it is crucial that instead of panicking, you follow proper protocol for preventing any kind of illness. As those tips apply to all of us, I’ll detail them further down, but you can find more statistics to help you keep calm and mama on thanks to UCHealth.
Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more in control now. So let’s move on.
Can my older children get COVID-19?
Here’s some more good news. Children aren’t more prone to getting COVID-19. What’s more, from the Chinese data, those that have gotten it had very mild symptoms. Chances are if your child becomes sick, it’s most likely the flu at work.
If you have reason to believe it is COVID-19 if you were traveling or in contact with someone that went to the affected regions, or your child has an underlying health condition, you should absolutely call your doctor to be sure.
What should I do to protect myself and my family?
I understand it’s scary because it’s new, but maybe you should look at the facts about the flu. There are many deaths each year from the flu and the world doesn’t grind to a complete halt because kids in a classroom get sick with it, or a bunch of coworkers is sniffling and coughing in their cubicles.
I found a very handy chart from the CDC that really puts that flu stuff into perspective.
And yes, the flu is different, but it’s still a virus that will run its course. The same is true of COVID-19. Instead of panicking and hoarding supplies (Toilet paper? Come on, you guys!), you, your kids, your coworkers and everyone on the planet should be preventing it.
Don’t buy into the hype. Buy into being prepared and training yourself into impeccable hygiene. This is something we should be doing every day of our lives, whether it is cold and flu season, and whether there’s a new virus or not.
Need another bit of perspective?
Think about when you go to the supermarket and get a cart. They’ve done tests on those carts and found some pretty disgusting discoveries. What if you have to use the bathroom when you’re out and about? I think you get my point without further grossness needed. You should always be proactive against germs no matter what.
Here’s a quick rundown of what the CDC says for preventing COVID-19:
- Stay away from sick people. This is very obvious, agree?
- Wash your hands properly. Even if you have been washing your hands since before it was the cool thing to do; chances are you might not be doing it long enough. Also, I’d like to point out that in China, most bathrooms didn’t have soap at the sinks in public settings. I feel sad that so many people were affected there, but after living there, I know why. Proper hygiene goes a long way for staying healthy no matter what germs are around.
- DO. NOT. TOUCH. FACE. Don’t touch your mouth, nose, or eyes and retrain yourself not ever to touch your face unless you’ve just washed your hands. And then, after touching your face, rewash them (especially if you’re handling food or going out into the world).
- Stop going places when you’re sick. I’m screaming this from behind my laptop. This is why my husband had a cold recently because a coworker kept coughing without covering it up. Both he and his boss got the cold. Now he’s better, but can you imagine how much healthier we’d all be if when we got sick, we just stayed home for a couple of days?
- Cover coughs and sneezes the right way. Most people do so with their hands, then touch common surfaces. Yuck! Ideally, if you have a tissue handy, use it and then properly dispose of it (and wash those hands). If not, use the crook of your elbow and remember to wash off your arm or launder your shirt ASAP.
Things You Shouldn’t Do When It Comes to COVID-19
So those are the things you should take care to do (check the CDC and WHO websites for greater details). But what shouldn’t you be doing?
- Crowded places
Many big events have been canceled for this reason. You are most likely fine at the supermarket and other venues, though.
- Face masks
Stop buying them! Unless you’re sick or you’re in Washington state where the most significant US outbreaks have occurred, you’re taking masks away from healthcare workers who need to stay healthy to help others.
- Hoarding supplies
It’s a virus, not a hurricane. Please keep that in mind when getting supplies.
My daughters recently had pinkeye, and because I used up all our disinfecting products to get rid of those germs, I was greeted with nearly bare shelves when I went to replenish. Days later, there would be no Lysol or hand sanitizer.
Don’t buy more than you need. Don’t buy up all the water or toilet paper either. I want you all to know we’re all going to be okay. Really. Stop the madness and step up the hygiene, which will go a long way to keeping our country healthy and keeping our economy thriving.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.