As COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, there are a lot of unknowns. Men are at risk, women are at risk. Adults are at risk, children are also at risk. Everyone is at risk.
The pandemic requires that everyone remains vigilant until we can safely return to everyday activities. You can take some simple steps to help slow the spread of the disease and protect yourself, your family, and the community.
Simply put, the steps to take are: get a COVID-19 vaccine, wash your hands often with plain soap and water, cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, avoid crowds, and practice social distancing. These are basic, easy ways to lower your family’s chances of getting the coronavirus.
If you’re a parent, you’re probably worried about news reports of the coronavirus (and the disease it causes, COVID-19). It has spread to nearly every country, sickened more than 160 million people, and caused at least 3.3 million deaths. There’s also been more than 160 000 confirmed cases and at least 2,070 deaths in Nigeria.
It’s natural for parents to worry but, fortunately, experts say your child has a lower chance of contracting the coronavirus by practicing safety precautions—which is why masks and social distancing are so important for unvaccinated individuals.
If your child does develop the disease, it probably won’t be severe or life-threatening. Confirmed cases in children tend to have mild symptoms, however, severe complications are possible—especially for individuals who are immune-compromised or have underlying medical conditions.
Practice social distancing
The COVID-19 virus is spread through the air and contaminated droplets from coughing, sneezing, talking, or exhaling can travel up to two metres, and they can infect people by entering their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Health experts warn that airborne transmission is also possible when contaminated droplets linger in the air. This is especially scary considering that COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, and it can also spread before people show any symptoms.
It’s vital to practice social distancing standards set in place by the government. If you aren’t vaccinated, stay at least two metres away from others, and avoid high-traffic places where transmission is more likely.
Be cautious in public places
Despite social distancing guidelines, most people still go out for essential purposes like grocery shopping. Make sure to take all necessary precautions. For example, you can wipe the grocery cart handle with a disinfectant wipe and avoid direct contact with cashiers. Read more about grocery shopping during a pandemic here.
Wear a face mask
The WHO, NCDC, and all health bodies suggest wearing a face mask in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
Always wear a mask in public since the barrier could block your infected droplets from contaminating others. Wearing a mask doesn’t just benefit those around you—it can protect you as well.
It’s also important to wear a mask if you’re at a higher risk for serious cases of COVID-19 (for example, if you’re older than 65 or have a compromised immune system, though masks are not recommended for children under 2).
Opt for surgical face masks—or surgical masks worn under cloth face masks—which, can help reduce coronavirus transmission by more than 95 percent. Even after you have been vaccinated, continue to wear face masks in most situations, indoors or outdoors.
Disinfect your home and belongings
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The coronavirus may be able to survive for three hours in the air, four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, and two to three days on stainless steel and plastic. That’s why it’s important to sanitise key things in your homes—such as your tabletops and doorknobs—to lower your chances of getting the coronavirus.
Teach your children not to touch their faces
Teach your children not to touch their faces in public and to wash their hands. Make sure they wash their hands. The best way to lower your chances of getting the coronavirus is practicing proper hand hygiene, so teach your children how to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Make sure they clean up before eating, whenever you return from being in public, and before touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. You can also use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Get vaccinated when it’s your turn
With the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine currently being administered nationwide, it can help prevent you from becoming sick with COVID-19.
All Nigerians over 16 are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and, if everyone gets vaccinated when they’re able, families can minimise the risk of infection.
Which vaccines are available?
Two vaccines have been approved for use in Nigeria, they are AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine eans the Pfizer vaccine. Only the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is currently being rolled out and in use in Nigeria.
After undergoing a strategic rollout to the public—with doses available first to health care workers, high-risk adults, and residents of long-term care facilities—states began broadening eligibility.
While the doses do still have a limited distribution depending on where you live, the hope is for 40 percent of Nigerians to be vaccinated in 2021.
We’ll know more about when children should receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks and months, and as more testing is done. .Getting the vaccine may help you from becoming seriously ill if you do get COVID-19, but it will also help those around you from becoming sick.