LN – Coronavirus: how to talk about the disease with children without generating alarm

The specialists recommend transmitting tranquility to the children and let them know that they feel cared for Credit: Shutterstock

Speak to them in clear language, according to their age, transmitting tranquility and, above all, making them feel cared for

These are the keys that specialists suggest when talking about coronavirus with children.

Before the confirmation of the first case in the country, the bombardment of images that, until now, came to us from other parts of the world (people with chinstraps, men and women in special suits, quarantined cruises) becomes much closer.

On the other hand, schools begin to take preventive measures, such as

the systematic use of alcohol gel and even the indication “avoid kisses and hugs”

, as happened this morning with a school in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Villa Urquiza. For these reasons, it is necessary to address the issue and

also give them the chance to express what they are concerned about


“This is a great opportunity for

work on the importance of hygiene care

each. The most important premise is the

hand washing

: before each meal, and then, if we arrive from places, “says Soledad Kadi, internist pediatrician at the José de San Martín Clinic Hospital.

It coincides with her, Pablo Bonvehí, an infectologist, head of Cemic Infectology and a member of the Argentine Society of Infectology. “You have to talk to the boys the same way they are told about other diseases.

Do not generate a greater fear in this case

. Highlight the importance of hygiene habits that is useful for all diseases. Cultural changes sometimes take a long time when you are an adult, for that reason, educating them in personal hygiene habits will make them very conscious adults in that aspect, “he explains.

This is a great opportunity to work on the importance of hygiene care for everyone

Soledad Kadi, pediatrician

On the other hand, Silvia Ongini, child and adolescent psychiatrist of the Department of Pediatrics of the Hospital de Clínicas, highlights the importance of

convey all this information calmly

. “The other pillar is

listen to the boys

and notice if they are afraid, if they find it hard to sleep, how the information is circulating according to the different ages, allow them to count the fear they have and be able to reassure them, “he considers.

“The first containment barrier is the adult,” continues the specialist. “It is important that you can reassure the child and

convey that you are being careful

and that in addition

it is very unlikely that this disease can be contracted by a child if appropriate measures are taken


Eduardo Silvestre, a pediatrician, scientific disseminator of the Medihome group, provides some clues about how to address the issue. “The main message to be transmitted is that

It is a casual event, very similar to other infections

that we know very well, that it has no serious health risks and that

work is being done to control it

“he points out.

The first containment barrier is the adult. It is important that you can reassure the boy

Silvia Ongini, psychiatrist

In his opinion, the ideal would be

take weight off the specific nomination

and instead,

tell them about infections in general

, how they contract, how to prevent them. Also the importance of healthy eating, proper hygiene, vaccination, staying at home when we are feverish.

Bonvehí also emphasizes preventive guidelines. ”

If the boys have symptoms of respiratory disease, they should not be sent to school

. I understand that this may be a disorder for working parents, but it is essential to prevent dissemination. This variable, which is basic and should always be taken into account, is more important this year.

What you don’t have to do is fall into the psychosis of not sending them to school for no reason

. The essential thing is to lead a normal life. ”

Tips for parents:

  • In cases where there is an indication of a flu vaccine, it must be given. It does not prevent infection in this case, but prevents the transmission of other viruses that have similar symptoms.
  • In matters of hygiene, nothing replaces soap and water. Wet wipes are useful when you are in a square or on public transport, but hand washing is always preferable.
  • Ensure that there is good ventilation in schools and houses.
  • When talking, also know how to listen and give them room to express what they are concerned about.
  • Prevent children from being exposed to television images all day.
  • Before


    such as high fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough, muscle pain and runny nose, consult a doctor.



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