I’ve been silently feeling ill at ease since the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS) was reported in South Korea and more recently Thailand, and I know I am not alone. According to a TODAY article, the mortality rate for SARS was about 10 per cent, or one in 10 while MERS infection has a fatality rate of 35 to 40 per cent, that means two in five people who contract MERS will die. Sounds more than scary to me especially since young children and the elderly are the ones most in danger. 😦
Have you been sharing information about MERS with your young ones yet?
We’ve told Wey about MERS and over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to remind Wey about some good habits to stay safe. Here’s what we’ve discussed and hopefully he remembers and is a good boy about keeping them.
1) Wash hands with soap, often!
Have you noticed how your children wash their hands? More often than not, they skip soaping and even if they do pump the soap, the soap doesn’t stay on their hands for more than a second before they happily rinse off. Wey always asks if he has to soap his hands when he washes because he thinks it’s a waste of time and he is always in a hurry to get on with more interesting things. I’ve decided to tell him that he has to use soap every time he washes (no more exceptions) and he has to soap and clean thoroughly.
I revisited the 7 steps to good hand washing habits with the little one, showing him how he should really wash his hands with soap always.Today, I told him to count to 20 as he soaped and was quite glad he diligently did it and had fun counting too. Hopefully, he does that even when I am not watching.
2) Don’t touch eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
As logical as this seems to be, it’s extremely difficult for a child to do. Even as adults, we habitually rub our eyes and even noses. This is definitely a tough one for my boy so the only way is to remind him that he has to keep his hands clean/ wash them often and/or sanitise his hands.
3) Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash
Quite often, Wey forgets to cover his mouth when he sneezes, despite repeated reminders.
I tried to show him the infographic above to explain the importance. He tells me now that he realises he has to cover up and he will try to do it all the time. Something tells me he will probably need a lot more reminders after this 😛
4) Wear a Mask if and when MERS does come to Singapore
It is said that the MERS virus is spread through droplets rather than airborne particles and so Surgical masks alone can probably provide good protection. Although N95 masks will offer a way better protection, comfort level and good fit may be an issue for children to be effectively protected.
Whatever it is, it’s best to have some stock of these masks at home right now before any mask buying frenzy kicks in. We still have some since the haze period last year so we’re not rushing out to get more.
5) Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, or sharing cups or eating utensils (with persons that are sick)
I suppose this is good common sense especially with strangers or persons that are not within the family. I’ve also tried to remind Wey not to share food (even though he is very generous most of the time) with others as that’s when fingers touch either the shared food or mouths.
6) Rest, Water and Fruits!
If MERS does ever reach our shores, I hope we’ll all remain calm, follow the prescribed safety and prevention advisories, stay watchful of symptoms and seek appropriate medical assistance.
In the meantime, let’s be vigilant … and stay safe!
~ SAys! Audrey 🙂