By Jon Evans | April 7, 2020 at 9:13 PM EDT – Updated April 7 at 10:18 PM
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – The coronavirus is presenting challenges for parents to make sure their children are safe, and also make them aware of the reasons why they may not be able to play with their friends or go to see loved ones.
“The big thing I tell parents is to make sure they (children) understand why they are social distancing, and you may have to use a different word for them, like we’re practicing ‘social safety’, using a word they are more familiar with,” said Dr. Kaylan Edwards, a pediatrician with Novant Health Pediatrics Brunswick. “To them it could come off, honestly, as a punishment because they don’t understand why they can’t see their friends, or they can’t go to their grandparents.”
Dr. Edwards is advising parents to try to keep as normal a schedule as possible, although that can be difficult with many schools closed and parents working from home during the current pandemic. Waking them up at the same time as they would if they were going to school, getting dressed, setting time for learning and meals, will help children adjust to the new norm.
“Children like schedules,” Dr. Edwards said. “They may not like to go to school, but they like schedule and they like structure. A lot of them do well with that. When we go off structure, they don’t know what to expect. A big thing is, still get up every morning, have them get up and get dressed, just like they were going to school, sit down and have breakfast together.”
Unlike the flu, where children are in the high-risk category for attracting the virus, Dr. Edwards says children do not often have the same symptoms for the novel coronavirus as adults, which include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. She is advising parents if they have questions regarding their child’s symptoms, they should call their pediatrician.
“One thing I remind parents is children are still going to get ‘kids diseases’,” the doctor said. “Those things that are viruses in the environment. They’re still going to get ear infections. They’re still going to get strep throat. Parents usually have a gut feeling if they’ve had an ear infection before, they know what it’s like the next time. I tell them if they are tugging on their ears, if they have a fever, they’re not eating well, those are all things they should see their pediatrician for.”
Dr. Edwards also says she agrees with the recent advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that ‘children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering their nose and mouth when in the community setting’.
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