Can I get COVID-19 from children and adolescents?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anyone regardless of age can catch COVID-19, which means that your children or grandchildren who are going back to school can get infected.
Young children and adolescents can spread COVID-19 to other people, whether they exhibit symptoms or do not feel ill at all.
It is important to know that the virus can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth. These droplets can spread when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks.
You can catch COVID-19 when these droplets are inhaled or transmitted from your hands touching surfaces and then rubbing your eyes or touching your nose or mouth.
Here are some simple things you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 while living in the same household as school-age children:
- Practice good hygiene as your first protection against disease. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and dry them thoroughly. If not available, you can use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Encourage members of your household to do the same.
- Wear a face mask. Face masks should have two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance.
- If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or a flexed elbow. Remember to throw away used tissues in a covered trash can, and wash your hands and arms.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible. Your hands come into contact with many surfaces which could be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth after touching unclean surfaces, you might transmit the virus to yourself.
- Maintain social distancing. Guidelines on sheltering in place are established by your local authorities for you to be safe, so it is important to follow them as best you can. Exercise outdoors safely according to regulations based on your area. If you must go out, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people.
- Avoid visiting family and friends in their houses, and refuse unnecessary home visits. If a healthcare provider such as a caregiver or physical therapist visits you for treatment at home, ask them to regularly check for COVID-19 symptoms.
- All surfaces that are frequently touched must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Every surface in your house that you and your family members frequently touch, especially in shared spaces such as the kitchen and bathroom, must be frequently cleaned and sanitized. Door knobs, light switches, keyboards, toilets, sinks, and other common surfaces which are usually harmless can transmit COVID-19, therefore they need to be included in the house cleaning checklist.