The coronavirus has taken the world by storm and our main question is how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. For this reason, people ask questions to get answers that may provide them with the knowledge and confidence to do so. Among these frequently asked questions lies the doubt as to who is more susceptible to contract the virus and who is potentially free from the threats of the virus. Unfortunately, people of all ages can catch the virus. This includes babies who have no understanding and very limited self-defence mechanisms against the virus as they are just beginning to grow in the external world. So how can we keep them safe during these uncertain times? Here is what you need to know about COVID-19 and babies.
Can they get the coronavirus and what are the symptoms?
As stated above, babies are faced with the threat of the virus as well. A Chinese statistical study found that among the 2000 children that were reported to have the virus, 10.6% of the cases were of infants under the age of 1. These cases also recorded the babies to have been suffering from more severe symptoms of the virus. Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 in babies are:
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Digestive issues
- Loss of taste and smell and even change in appetite for those babies that are too young to comprehend these changes
- Shortness of breath
Some of the more severe symptoms are:
- Low oxygen levels and the signs such as blue lip, rapid heart rate and white fingernail beds.
- Organ failure
- Inability to wake up or keep liquids down
Care and precautions
Despite the low statistics of children and babies suffering from severe symptoms, it is better to be safe than sorry. It is the duty of the parents and caretakers of the babies to take it upon themselves to minimise possible exposure of the baby to the virus. Some precautions to be taken are:
- Avoid going out with the baby and if it is necessary to leave the house, make sure to use an effective mask for the baby as well.
- Limit unknown visitors in the house because you may not know if they have recently been exposed to the virus or not
- Regularly wash your hands and sanitise before handling the baby. Whether it is to feed them or to change their clothes, it is important to practice these hygiene steps.
- Ensure that anyone handling the baby like nannies and helpers that come from outside have not been recently exposed to the virus, wear masks at all times, regularly wash their hands and maintain good hygiene.
If your baby has contracted the virus, there are steps that must be followed to ensure a seamless recovery:
- Call a doctor to enquire whether they need to be brought to a hospital or if they can recover at home
- Watch for signs. Make sure that you are aware of all the changes that your baby is going through and look out for alarming symptoms. If they look extremely sick, are having struggles in breathing, staying awake and so on, call your doctor immediately.
- As unfavourable as it may be to keep your baby in isolation, it is necessary to keep them away from the rest of the members in the house. There must be a single caretaker for the baby to avoid the spread of the virus to anyone else.
- Remember to constantly take temperature and oxygen level checks to identify their progress.
- Implement a healthy diet to ensure that their immune system is not compromised
- If the baby is over the age of 2 years, they must wear a mask. They should not have any difficulty in breathing
- Avoid stress. This is not helpful for a speedy recovery of the baby. Stay calm and optimistic.
If the parents test positive for COVID-19, it is imperative to prepare the baby to be apart from the parent for the isolation period. Organise for a nanny or have a family member stay at the house and take care of your baby. Devise a medium of communication to aid during the separation period. Staying positive and clear-headed is a simple way to win a small part of the battle against COVID-19.