There is a lot of information circulating the internet about coronavirus (COVID-19) and depending on the source, it may or may not be true. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital infectious diseases physician Juan Dumois, M.D., clears the air by debunking five coronavirus myths.
MYTH: Kids can’t catch it
Kids can catch it. In general, they are not as likely to get as sick as some adults become, but some kids can get quite sick. They are most likely to be affected the younger they are (12 months and under).
MYTH: Children are only contagious if they show symptoms
It is a scary thought, but you can still have and spread coronavirus even if you don’t have symptoms. The No. 1 guideline is: No matter who or what you touch, if you wash your hands before you touch your face, you probably won’t catch it. The risk of catching coronavirus is lower for kids who are at their home and not exposed to other kids at school or daycare. It is good for families to practice habits like good hand hygiene and avoid kissing on the lips or sharing drinks.
MYTH: Masks protect you
Masks can be harmful if they give you a false sense of security. If you do proper hand hygiene, a mask probably won’t hurt you, but it’s not necessary. Typically, masks have been used in hospital settings as a reminder to not touch your face, but that’s with trained people. For the general public, it might actually make you touch your face more and many people wear them improperly. The only time a person should really wear a mask is if it’s been advised from medical professionals when you are ill in order to prevent spreading it to others. In these cases, the mask should cover bridge of nose and the bottom of the mask should wrap around chin.
MYTH: Pets can spread the virus to your family
Pets have not been identified as sources to transmit the virus. Your furry family members should not be a concern.
MYTH: Encouraging your children to practice good hand hygiene won’t make a difference
Good hand hygiene is always beneficial and the most important way to prevent the spread of illness. If children can learn early, they can improve upon their hand hygiene skills. Most school-age kids can learn it and develop good habits. In fact, if school-age kids use sanitizer at least four times over the course of the school day, it can reduce illness-related absences by at least 25 percent in the school. Here is a video showing the best practices for hand washing with both soap and water and hand sanitizer.