Wintertime COVID Safety Tips for Parents
There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on everyone. However, the past 21 months have been a particularly trying time for parents. Between having their work lives shaken up, making childcare arrangements amidst school closures and keeping their little ones safe from the novel coronavirus, most parents have seen their stress levels skyrocket during this period. Although the arrival of vaccines and school reopenings have given pandemic-weary parents some hope, there are still a number of steps that must be taken to ensure the safety of both you and your children this winter.
Get Your Children Vaccinated
Since children aged five and up are now cleared to get vaccinated in the U.S., any kids who fall into this age bracket should receive their vaccines. The sole exception to this rule are children who suffer from medical conditions that preclude them from getting vaccinated. Not only will vaccination diminish your children’s chances of contracting a serious or fatal case of the novel coronavirus, it will also help illustrate your household’s commitment to public health and social responsibility.
As is the case with many things in life, parents are encouraged to lead by example with regard to vaccination. So, if you have yet to receive your initial dose(s) of vaccine or aren’t current with your boosters, there’s no time like the present to rectify this mistake. Now that all adults in the U.S. (save for those with certain medical conditions) have been cleared to get their first vaccine booster, you should make this a priority. If you received one of the two-dose varieties of vaccine, you should wait until at least six months have passed before getting your first booster. Alternatively, if you received the Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, you should wait at least two months before going in for your booster. Since further boosters will likely be necessary, make a point of staying current with news coming out of the CDC.
In addition to getting vaccinated against COVID-19, you and your children should also get your annual flu shots. Flu season is dangerous enough without the additional threat of an active pandemic, and getting your shots can be an effective way to keep the flu out of your home.
Stress the Importance of Proper Hygiene
Proper hygiene can be an invaluable tool in the fight against germs and virus particles. That being the case, make sure to instill the importance of proper hygiene in your children. This entails requiring them to wash their hands for at least two minutes before meals and after handling items that were touched by people outside of your immediate household. Additionally, your kids should be encouraged to bathe after getting home from school or a crowded public space. You should also make sure that your children are equipped with masks and hand sanitizer whenever they leave the house.
By extension, you should ensure that both you and your kids are masked whenever you’re out in public, at work or at school. Even if you’re all fully vaccinated, it’s important to remember that breakthrough cases are possible and some COVID variants are more resistant to vaccines than others.
Be Mindful of Possible Symptoms
If you or any of your children begin showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should take the appropriate measures posthaste. For starters, get in touch with your family physician. Since people exhibiting COVID symptoms are generally not allowed into regular doctors’ offices, this is likely to be a phone or video chat consultation. If the situation seems serious, the doctor may recommend that you go to the emergency room. Cincinnati-based parents in the market for a new family physician would do well to search for “general family medical practice Mt. Auburn.”
The last 21 months have not been an easy time. Between the initial flood of COVID-19 cases, hundreds of thousands of deaths and various shakeups to our daily lives, this has been one of the most trying periods many of us have ever endured. This is doubly true in the case of parents, many of whom were already dealing with mounting stress levels pre-pandemic. While things certainly look better now than they did at this time last year, parents would be wise to keep their guard up to help ensure a COVID-free winter season for their families.