Virus-proofing your mobile kids

By Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason Philippine Daily Inquirer February 19,2020

Last week, our family of nine was supposed to fly to Japan for a skiing trip then a business convention. But because of the ongoing Corona Virus or Covid-19 outbreak, we canceled the trip even if we had to lose a bit of money. We were supposed to travel with two seniors and three little kids who were prone to the virus so we didn’t want to risk it especially with a transit in Hongkong.

But life goes on. Even in the Philippines, we must be vigilant. Although we don’t have a significant number of Covid-19 cases, there are still other viruses that are floating in the air. Our kids would still have to go to school using public transportation or riding school buses. As long as those infected are not turning into zombies, we all still need to participate in life.

So how do we make sure that our kids are safe while being mobile? Here are some tips:

1) Teach your kids to wash their hands with soap often. Remind them to do it after using the toilet, after eating, after holding a lot of doorknobs or coming from somewhere crowded. I teach my kids to sing Happy Birthday at least once (better if two) while scrubbing their hands. Although they say that you should follow up with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% and above), make sure that 1 out of three times you washed your hands, apply lotion so that your hands will not be prone to cracked skin which will hasten the entry of viruses and bacteria into your system.

2) If you are in a crowded place, traveling via bus or MRT, teach your kids to put their hands in their pockets so that they are not tempted to touch handrails and other surfaces. If they need to hold onto something, they either wear gloves or take a sheet of anti-bacterial wipes to use it as barrier between their hands and surfaces. Make sure they discard it immediately.

3) Equip them with easy to access tissue paper, but in emergencies teach them to sneeze into their sleeves. Although viruses can survive longer on the surface of inanimate objects while it only lasts a couple of minutes on the skin. Sneezing in your hands can spread the germs because you will probably touch your face after.

4) Keep their immune system up. Load up on Vitamin C, probiotics, and rest. For my kids, we load them up with raw honey (not to be given to kids less than 2 years old because it can cause death), organic lemon and ginger as their juice or nighttime shot. Probiotics, on the other hand, will help keep their stomachs flora balanced, keeping stomach problems at bay.

5) Disinfect the space you will occupying. Spray, wipe and dry the armrest, seats and tables you will be using. This include walls and windows if you are riding the plane or bus.

6) Wear protective eyewear while traveling. Yes, you can catch a virus if it goes to your eye. Again, it’s a body opening. This virus is still transmitted via droplet and people get the virus through touching an infected surface then putting your hands in your mouth and eyes.

7) Wear a face mask and quarantine kids if they show any symptoms of cold, shortness of breath, cough, and/or fever. This is beneficial to both sick and well people. Just an added note, one of the distinguishing factor whether your kid has a cold or Flu. Colds usually develop slowly with the onset of scratchy through and then the sniffles. For Flu, it often comes in strong with aching body combined with cough or colds.

8) A PDI colleague suggested I get a personal air ionizer. This device can be worn in the neck to add another layer of protection when we go on our trip. We invested in an Invisiclean personal Air Ionizer. Another brand available is called Air Tamer. Our family has been wearing it to school, mall, and office. This device is recommended by doctors for people who are suffering allergic rhinitis and immunity problem. We also invested in several UV air cleaners which not only collect microbes but kills it. I bought a UV Care and TruSens which are both available at National Bookstore.

And finally, do what you feel is right. Don’t let other people’s judgment hinder you from doing what you think is right for your family and your peace of mind. I would rather be called O.A. than having one of my family members get sick.

As much as I am tempted to put my kids in a bubble or locked in our houses, but just like parenting, all we can do is to get them ready and prepared for the world (full of viruses).

P.S. Above are just tips and suggestions, and in no way can replace your doctor’s recommendations.

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