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24 March, 2020

How do you protect your children from Coronavirus? We've got expert answers!

Parenthood is tough enough without facing a pandemic. So if you’re questioning whether to send your child to day care, if you’re pregnant and concerned about how coronavirus might affect you or you’ve just given birth and you’re tip-toeing around the topic of visitors, you’re not alone! To help answer your questions One Fine Baby speaks to Midwife and Emergency Clinical Nurse Consultant Edwina Sharrock, the Founder and Director of Birth Beat...

How is Coronavirus affecting babies?

COVID-19 is still very new, so we don't have a lot of information about it yet. What we do know at present is that there are far fewer cases of the virus reported in children, thankfully. Also the virus seems to cause a milder infection in children than in adults or older people. However, most of the children who have caught the infection got it from someone they live with or a family member.

This is why social distancing and isolation is so important!

Is breastfeeding an effective way to protect babies against COVID-19?

The current research shows that the COVID-19 virus does not spread from breastmilk to baby. What we do know is that breastmilk helps increase the immunity of your newborn. The WHO continues to recommend that breastfeeding your baby is best and don’t be scared to enjoy skin to skin cuddles.

There have been reports of women in their third trimester testing positive. Do you have more information?

There have been some limited reports of PROM (premature rupture of membranes), fetal distress, and preterm birth when mothers became infected in the third trimester. The numbers of these are really not clear and the cases are considered to be very limited.

What advice do you have for mothers, who have just given birth and are concerned about the risk of infection?

Firstly, regular hand hygiene is so important! Secondly, if your hospital hasn’t already limited your visitors, I would encourage you to ask for no visitors. I appreciate how hard this is but I encourage you to embrace FaceTime!

For babies who aren't able to wash their hands and practise social distancing, what's your advice to parents?

Really question where they’re going and why. Keeping children at home and limiting exposure to other children is my best advice.

What else can parents do to help their kids stay healthy?

Make sure your children have all of their vaccinations up to date. It’s also really important to start considering and planning for the flu shot for you and your family.

If parents suspect that their baby or child may have Coronavirus, what steps should be taken and who can we call?

Call your doctor if your child or someone in your family has a fever, cough, or other flu-like symptoms. Tell the doctor if they have been near someone with COVID-19 or lived in or travelled to an area where lots of people have the coronavirus.

Important note: All information provided by Birth Beat's Edwina Sharrock is taken from reputable sources including the World Health Organisation and RANZCOG.

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