The Coronavirus: What Every Parent Needs to Know

  • Health

You’ve most likely heard about the Coronavirus (or the 2019 Novel Coronarvirus/COVID-19) by now. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer are flying off the shelves at stores and there’s talk of school closings and quarantines. Should we all panic? Should we keep our kids home from school? What about Spring Break?

We sat down with mom and pediatrician, Dr. Katie, from to find out what every parent needs to know about the Coronavirus.

This information is not intended to be medical advice. If you have questions about the Coronavirus, or fear that your child might have Coronavirus symptoms, please consult with your pediatrician.

Don’t panic.

During any outbreak of illness, it is important to stay calm and remain educated. While it can feel overwhelming to hear about quarantines and to see large events being cancelled or postponed, the majority of patients with Coronavirus are experiencing mild symptoms, and it is not yet widespread in the United States. The chance of having influenza is much higher than coronavirus.

Your best source of up-to-date information is the CDC website.

Wash your hands. Do it again.

Your number one defense against the Coronavirus is to wash your hands and to teach your kids the proper way to wash their hands as well. Coronavirus is NOT an airborne virus, which means that in order to get it, either someone will need to cough or sneeze into your mouth, OR (more likely), you’ll touch a surface containing the virus and then touch your nose or mouth.

Click here to see how to properly wash your hands and how to teach your kids to do the same.

No hand sanitizer? No problem.

There appears to be a shortage of hand sanitizer, but that’s no reason to panic. While hand sanitizer is nice to have when you’re on the go, nothing beats washing your hands with soap and water.

If you are able to purchase hand sanitizer, make sure it contains more than 60% alcohol to be effective.

Don’t rush to the ER or your doctor’s office.

If your child is in respiratory distress, take them to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. Otherwise, if you think your child is showing symptoms of the Coronavirus, call your pediatrician before rushing your child to the doctor’s office or emergency room.

Your doctor will be able to guide you on where you should go for testing (if your child should be tested) and what you can do in the meantime. By keeping your child home, you’re preventing the possible spread of illness while also protecting your child from catching the flu or another virus from the doctor’s office.

Consider canceling your cruise.

The CDC has recommended that all cruise travel (especially for those with underlying health conditions) be canceled or postponed. Recent reports of the Coronavirus on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, the Coronavirus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships. Read more from the CDC on cruise travel here.

For more information about traveling for Spring Break, including whether you should get on a plane, and whether you should wear a mask in the airport, click here to watch our Facebook Live with Dr. Katie. 

Or watch the video below.

Please note: The host audio was malfunctioning during the live event. The good news is that you can read the questions on the screen, and Dr. Katie can be heard clearly. We apologize for the inconvenience.