The Covid-19 pandemic has caused physical and mental stress in practically all of us, including our children.
Physical stress may be easier to identify. However, therapy might be challenging and have unfavourable results at times.
On the other hand, mental stress is often ignored, challenging to identify or diagnose, and unpredictable.
"The impact of Covid-19 on our physical well-being has been widely discussed but little attention has been given to parents on how they can minimize Covid-19's effects on their children," says paediatrician Dr. Khairul Zaman Bin Omar.
Here are four ways to keep your kids safe during the pandemic.
- Vaccinate yourself to support herd immunity
As a result, getting immunised lowers your risk of contracting Covid-19 and passively passes your immunity to your child. If a Covid 19 vaccine is available, it is recommended that you get it. Prevention is best and better than treatment.
- Best practices for hygiene
Enough said on the ways we can protect ourselves from getting infected but the bottom line is good hygiene, avoid crowds AND practice all the simple measures to avoid ourselves from getting any infection, not just Covid-19
Prioritise being immunised and maintaining the highest standard of hygiene before considering this course of action. Medical research has shown, Vitamin C consumption of at least 2000 mg a day and vitamin D of at least 500 mg a day may help reduce the chance of contracting Covid-19. Oral forms of both vitamins are readily available.
All available vaccinations, especially those that guard against respiratory infections, are strongly encouraged for parents to provide to their kids. Medical evidence suggests that not having received other vaccinations may be the reason adults respond poorly to a Covid-19 infection. Visit your doctor or the paediatrician for your kids to learn more about these vaccines.
Mental Stress in children is a topic most doctors (myself included) would rather avoid but we will in our best interest, advise parents if asked. Many parents would say their children feel confined or constrained due to the stay-home order. In my opinion, it’s all that we want to think of what it is. Do we need to go to the Mall or eat in a restaurant or go on a beach vacation for family bonding?
We could not do these in the comfort of our home? I would agree many of us (If not most) have cultivated the idea of the e-ternak environment is of great importance for normal, quality, family time. How have we missed the good old time of getting our children involved in house activities like cooking, gardening, reading, playing board games, and of course watching movies at home? All our children need their parents’ devotion, attention and love and we don't need to give them these only by going on a beach vacation, eating in fancy places, etc.
It's just that during this pandemic going out is statistically proven to increase the chances of getting an infection. Eating fancy food can be purchased online to be enjoyed at home. Older children undergoing online education may feel stressed but we can tell and show them methods of stress reduction like getting involved in their school work like our parents did.
Perhaps these are easy methods to be practised. However, a point (or two) for all of us to ponder, "would the pandemic have a long-term effect on the child's mental development?"
My answer would be your guess is good as mine. We are not sure at least for now if in the next few months or years these cases would see a rise. Matter of fact to date no full proof statistics or medical-based evidence can pinpoint the exact cause of this disorder.
Doctors and other health personnel are also affected during this trying time. We would in our best interest and capacity ease the physical and mental burden of parents and children. Let's play our part in hasting the pandemic demise.
Dr. Khairul Zaman Bin Omar
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
*This article was written based on the information available at the time.