Covid-19 safety precautions

– Dr. Harikah is a paediatrician at Sprout Children’s Clinic, Bengaluru

I have an eight-year-old son who is very physically active, playing cricket and other sports. The Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions have greatly upset his sports and games schedules. My husband and I are in our 40s and no elderly people live with us. How safe is it to send him for extra-curricular activities such as cricket coaching classes conducted in our apartment complex. The coach is not insisting that children wear masks while playing as it causes breathlessness. — Kamakshi A, Bengaluru

According to latest research on Covid-19, children less than 10 years of age are at reduced risk of contracting the disease and less likely to spread it to others. However, the infection is also transmitted through contaminated surfaces. So it could be transmitted through usage of the same cricket bats/ balls, common sitting area etc. There is risk of your son carrying the infection back home and there are chances that you (parents) may get infected.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that weighing the risk versus benefit of return to sport is driven by the sport and setting, local disease activity and individual circumstances, including underlying health conditions or high risk contacts of household.

Encourage your son to play non-contact sports such as badminton, tennis, cycling and roller-skating. Also playing indoor board games promotes family bonding.

My ten-year-old suffers from asthma. Given the rising curve of Covid-19 infections, is it safe to take her outdoors? We have been stuck in our apartment for months and would really like an outing such as a drive to the beach. Please advise. — Brinda Jay, Chennai

Yes, you can take her out on a drive to get some fresh air. Please follow these instructions when outdoors:

  • Wear a mask or face shield
  • Keep a sanitizer in the car
  • Pack home-made food and snacks and avoid eating out
  • Preferably travel with only your family members. Avoid inviting friends for picnics.
  • Keep car windows open to allow free airflow movement
  • Choose non-rush hours such as early morning or late night for the drive

My sister delivered a baby two weeks ago. She is back home and both mother and child are healthy. The infant was born through IVF treatment. Both mother and daughter are Covid-19 negative. Is it safe for us to visit them? What about the grandparents? When is the earliest that they can see their grandchild? — Kashyap Murthy, Chennai

It’s natural for family members to want to visit new-borns, especially grandparents. Follow these instructions when visiting to ensure the safety of the mother and new-born.

  • All visitors should wear a mask or face shield
  • Maintain six feet distance from the mother and infant
  • Avoid touching the infant. But if you must, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a sanitizer, and hold the baby in your arms. Even then, avoid touching her face/hands directly
  • Allow only one or two people at a time to see the infant. Avoid overcrowding
  • After visitors leave, make sure to change the infant’s clothes

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