Our first health blog post is from Zhenna Chan Mow-Faai'uga - pharmacist and owner of Niu Pharmacy
"BE PREPARED!” is a motto that I always remember from Girl Guides when faced with any difficult situation, whether it be a present danger or an inevitable situation such as a cyclone. It is with this motto in mind that I urge parents to respond with caution to the current coronavirus covid-19 spreading across the world. Much news has been hyped up or sensationalised by media and has inevitably created an epidemic of panic across the world. While it is not the apocalypse, we still need to be vigilant for our children’s and loved ones’ health.
It is important to consider the facts first so that you can prepare yourself and your family in the event of a coronavirus pandemic. A lot of the panic caused by this coronavirus is because this is a relatively new disease & not a lot is known about it. You need to stay up-to-date with health advice/information from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and those from reputable sources that have been verified by health professionals whose expertise is in infectious diseases. I highly recommend Ark Health Discovery and their chatbot app Amio (available on Facebook messenger & Instagram) if you have any queries regarding the coronavirus.
G O O D H Y G I E N E
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine and no specific medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 yet. The best prevention to date is good hygiene.
Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with soap and water. Teach your kids to wash their hands (washing, rubbing, rinsing) while singing “Happy Birthday” twice, as that’s the minimum amount of time to get all the germs off. Having a poster beside your bathroom or kitchen sinks of how to wash your hands properly can also be helpful. Pocket hand sanitizers can also be attached to your child’s school bag with a holder so that they can have a sanitizer handy when going to school.
If you are sick with the coronavirus, wear a mask to prevent the spread of infection and make sure your mask covers both your mouth and nose. Also wear a mask if you are taking care of someone who is sick with the coronavirus.
Teach your kids to cover their mouths with their hands, bent elbow or tissue when they cough or sneeze and to dispose of any used tissue immediately
S Y M P T O M S
As with any infectious disease, it is important to stay at home and avoid going to public places (such as cinemas, restaurants, playgrounds, school, workplace, church) if you or your child feel unwell or start displaying symptoms. These symptoms can range from a
difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
It is important that you seek urgent medical help if you or your child are having difficulty breathing as this could be sign of pneumonia.
If your child is sick, make sure they stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids whether it be water, coconut juice, fruit juice. Oral rehydration Ice blocks are an easy way to get your child to stay hydrated and help get their fever down.
Boost your child’s immune system by giving them food and drink full of vitamins such as fruits, vegetables, juices, fruit smoothies etc. If your child is a fussy eater, it would be a good idea to give them multivitamin supplements. These come in an array of gummies, liquids, chewable tablets to suit your child’s needs.
Treat any fever, aches and pains with medicines such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen and have a thermometer handy to monitor your child’s temperature. You can also put wet socks on your child to help draw down the fever.
In Samoa we have an abundance of
nonu leaves which can be used to cover your child’s body to help draw out their fever.
If your child has a consistently high temperature (above 39 degrees Celsius) or the fever persists after 2 days of taking medication, seek medical help.
Antibiotics will not treat the coronavirus but your Doctor may prescribe it if you or your child develop pneumonia or another bacterial infection. It is important to complete the course of antibiotics as prescribed and not to stop taking the antibiotics as soon as you or your child feel better. If your child has an allergic reaction to an antibiotic or any other medicine, let your doctor or pharmacist know.
As parents, we play a crucial role in our child’s health and wellbeing. It is important to stay vigilant when taking care of your sick child. I encourage parents that if their child’s condition gets worse or if they aren’t getting better with their medication, take your child back to see the doctor.