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How to talk to teens about the new coronavirus – Harvard Health Blog


We appear to be caught in a nonstop information cycle concerning the new coronavirus that’s inflicting an sickness referred to as COVID-19. Many mother and father are understandably sharing considerations, too — a minimum of amongst pals and households. It’s additionally attainable that youngsters are speaking to their very own pals and browsing the online and social media websites to collect info, together with potential misinformation.

How will you be certain youngsters are knowledgeable simply sufficient with out feeling overwhelmed, but even have correct info? Your teen already could also be asking many questions. Even when not, it is likely to be a good suggestion to seek out out what your teen has heard in case you have to make clear info and ask them if they’ve any worries. (You probably have youthful youngsters, see my weblog publish on talking to children about coronavirus.)

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You probably have your individual questions concerning the new coronavirus, test dependable sources, such because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provides a spread of details about the virus. The World Well being Group’s myth busters page may also help you give appropriate solutions to some stunning questions and misinformation that’s spreading.

Answering questions teenagers could have concerning the new coronavirus

Earlier than you begin, ask what your little one is aware of thus far in case you have to make clear something, and discover out what questions your little one has. Beneath are some questions teenagers may ask concerning the new coronavirus and a few advised responses.

What triggered this new coronavirus?

Coronaviruses trigger the widespread chilly and the flu. This coronavirus is believed to have started in animals after which handed on to people at a dwell animal market in China.

Why now?

That is truly not the primary time that there was a widespread virus that began in animals and unfold to people. One other instance is the extreme acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002 that was brought on by a special coronavirus. That virus ultimately was contained. Medical doctors, scientists, and authorities officers are working onerous to do the identical with this latest coronavirus.

One motive why we’re listening to extra about this virus is due to how briskly it’s spreading and the way a lot it has affected individuals in many various nations. One more reason is that we even have many extra methods of sharing info than we did in 2002, and posts now have the flexibility to “go viral” themselves. Should you discover that you’re changing into distressed after studying all the posts concerning the virus, then it is likely to be useful to restrict how a lot you learn concerning the virus within the information and on websites or apps, to learn simply sufficient.

Can our pets get sick?

There may be little proof that domesticated pets, together with canines and cats at dwelling, are more likely to get sick from this new coronavirus, or spread the virus.

Are you able to die from the brand new coronavirus?

Most individuals — most likely greater than 95% and presumably greater than 99% — who’ve gotten sick from the brand new coronavirus haven’t died. The dying charge is probably going even decrease than has been reported within the information as a result of, identical to with the flu, some individuals with gentle instances of the virus could not have gone to the physician to get examined.

Will my college shut due to considerations concerning the brand new coronavirus?

Some communities could determine to briefly shut locations, together with faculties, to provide communities affected by sickness brought on by the virus an opportunity to stop it from spreading rapidly. This has occurred earlier than when some faculties have had excessive charges of different viruses, together with the norovirus. These faculties reopened later. In case your college makes the choice to shut briefly, we are going to hear extra about that.

Ought to we keep dwelling to stay secure, so we don’t catch the brand new coronavirus?

People who find themselves contaminated with the brand new coronavirus are requested to remain dwelling for about two weeks. Additionally, individuals who may need been uncovered to the virus are requested to remain dwelling for a time frame to verify they don’t develop any signs of the virus.

Should you don’t have the virus, then you must proceed to do what you want and like to do. Apply the identical on a regular basis wholesome habits that you’d (or ought to) do anyway. You’ll be on monitor for those who:

  • Sneeze or cough into tissues (and throw them away) or sneeze or cough into your elbow. These behaviors assist maintain germs from touring and making different individuals sick.
  • Wash your arms with cleaning soap and water after going to the toilet, earlier than consuming, and after blowing your nostril. While you wash your arms, keep in mind to depend slowly to 20.
  • Attempt to keep away from touching your mouth, eyes, and nostril, that are locations the place the germs can enter your physique.
  • Attempt to get sufficient sleep and eat effectively to assist your physique keep wholesome.

Further suggestions for supporting your teen

  • Remind teenagers that everybody is working onerous to handle the virus.
  • Though it could appear tough, you will need to mannequin calmness. Teenagers will look to folks to gauge how nervous they need to be, though it could look like they only tune you out!
  • Present your teenagers that it’s attainable to proceed to do what’s necessary to you whereas working towards wholesome behaviors.
  • If it turns into obligatory to regulate plans, be clear and direct together with your teen in order that they perceive the rationale behind the choice. For instance, if you must postpone journey due to new recommendation about secure journey, then let your teen know that. Verify the CDC travel advisories for up-to-date info. You’ll be able to add that the journey was postponed as a result of it was not a obligatory journey, and that the household will proceed to do what is important every day.

For added info, see our weblog on what parents should know and do about the coronavirus and our Coronavirus Resource Center.


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