5 Steps to Keep Your Family Healthy During the Coronavirus Outbreak

There probably isn’t anyone left on the planet who doesn’t know about the current pandemic, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that has been wreaking havoc around the globe. As per the World Health Organization, there have been 294,110 confirmed cases from 187 countries and 12,944 confirmed deaths as of March 22, 2020. Infected people experience mild to moderate respiratory illness with the following symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing (severe cases)

The young, the elderly and the immunocompromised are the most at risk from COVID-19 which is spread through coughing or sneezing so it’s important to take precautions like social distancing.

Here in Canada, we also have cases of COVID-19 and there are daily updates on our government website. The top 5 provinces with the most number of cases are listed below, this data is from 1430 confirmed cases as of March 22, 2020.

The good thing for us is that our public health system is prepared and is working closely with all government levels. We know the risks and are taking steps to contain the pandemic.

As a Dad, my family is my main priority especially during times like this. My first thought is “How do I keep my family healthy?” especially since babies and children have weaker immune systems than most adults. So I searched the web and found some tips on how to keep my family healthy during trying times like these and I just want to share them with Dads (and Moms!) like me:

  • Create a schedule – with schools and offices closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole family is supposed to stay at home to avoid catching the virus. This can lead parents and children to have different schedules but keeping to a routine is important. Include time for learning, exercise, free time and proper sleep. Keep in mind that it’s okay to be flexible too! There are just some days the kids (and you) may just want to stay in bed and have some bonding moments.
  • Keep safe distances – the key to avoid catching the virus is to limit social interactions and keep at least a 1 meter distance as much as possible when meeting people. If going out can’t be avoided, keep sanitizers on hand and wear a face mask as an added precaution. Children (and you) may want to meet up with friends but avoid huge gatherings and crowds.
  • Make handwashing fun – an important step in keeping COVID-19 at bay is diligent handwashing. Make sure to scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds, lathering the palms, back of the hands, fingers and nails. A great way to teach this to your kids is to pick a song like Happy Birthday, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or the ABC song, and sing while washing hands. Make it a family activity so the kids will participate actively.
  • Stay socially connected – keep in touch with family and friends through social media via photos and video calls to check in. This can help you and children feel connected with people you love outside the family. Help your children write letters or postcards to family members and friends who are not using social media, this will also help them in practicing writing and being creative. Check with your children’s school if they resources for supporting the social and emotional needs of their students during this school break. Check with your own company if they allow telecommuting or working from home as this may help you with your own social and emotional needs as an adult.
  • Be a role model – remember that children imitate what they see from adults. If you don’t follow the rules yourself then your children will have a hard time understanding why they need to follow said rules. For example, if you wash your hands properly and periodically, your children are more likely to do the same instead of questioning why they need to do so.

We don’t know when this pandemic will end and when we can return to our previous normal, or if we need to embrace a new normal. Our main priority should be protecting our families and keeping them safe from this virus, and protecting our fellow human. If you or any of your family experiences the symptoms for COVID-19 don’t hesitate to ask questions and get help from our government’s Public Health Agency.

  • call at 1-833-784-4397 (interpretation services are available in multiple languages)
  • email at phac.info.aspc@canada.ca

Remember to stay safe and that in times like this the old adage Health is Wealth rings truer than ever.

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