It’s crossed the mind of every parent since the pandemic was declared earlier this year; how will I care for my child if he or she gets COVID-19?
Monitor your child’s symptoms as directed by your health-care provider.
Everyone can take simple steps to lower the risk of infection – things like physical distancing, washing your hands often, staying home more, and wearing non-medical masks if physical distancing isn’t possible. If, however, children do show symptoms of COVID-19, follow these steps, as suggested by the Government of Canada, to protect yourself and the other children who may be in your household:
Monitor your child’s symptoms as directed by your health-care provider. If your child develops severe symptoms, call 911 and ensure your health-care providers know your child has or is suspected to have COVID-19.
Keep hands clean: Wash your hands and those of your child often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after any type of contact with the child and after removing gloves. You can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer. Dry with paper towels or reuseable towels (replace when wet and do not share). Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and encourage your child not to touch their face, either.
Avoid spreading infection: Keep your child in your home or in a monitored outdoor space. They should not play with friends, go to school, visit public areas, or be within two metres of others. Encourage them to use tissues or cough and sneeze into their elbows. Don’t share personal items like toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils or electronic devices, or food and drink. Use a separate bathroom if possible. If not, put the toilet lid down before flushing. If you’re a breastfeeding mother, continue breastfeeding; if you are feeding with formula or expressed milk, sterilize the equipment carefully before each use and do not share bottles or a breast pump.
Keep your environment clean. Wash your reusable facemasks, and place used gloves and other contaminated disposable items in a lined container and secure the contents. Dispose of them with other household waste. Place possibly contaminated laundry into a container with a plastic liner and do not shake. Wash with laundry soap and hot water, and dry well. Clothing and linens belonging to the child can be washed with other laundry. Wear gloves and a non-medical mask when in direct contact with contaminated laundry. Disinfect hard surfaces.
Protect yourself: Only one healthy person should care for the child. People at higher risk of serious illness should not care for the child – elderly persons, those with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems. Wear a mask, gloves and eye protection if you have to be within two metres of the child.
Monitor yourself for symptoms and follow advice provided by the local health authority about self-isolation. If you develop symptoms, call HealthLine 811 for further instructions.