Since beginning of 2020 and the start of the pandemic, everyone has been affected, no matter the places or the ages. Wearing masks is deemed to be a great way to limit the transmission of the virus and it has become “The New Normal”, and children are not excluded from this too.
Although the majority of the children who contracted this disease only manifested mild symptoms, they can still pass the virus around. Hence, wearing masks prevent the further spread of COVID-19, but kids being kids, it might not always be easy to make them understand its importance and finding ways to help them mask up is crucial to help fight the virus.
Can kids suffer serious forms of COVID-19?
Although a lot of myths have been circulating about the link between COVID-19 and children, yes, children can catch the virus, even young children are. Hence, the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to spread awareness about mask-wearing even in children.
Even if only a few serious cases have been recorded, children can also contract COVID-19 but, when compared to the symptoms manifested by adults, the younger ones tend to display mild symptoms only.
However, there have been several cases where children developed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). This condition manifests more serious symptoms that occur even after weeks of being infected with COVID-19. When children develop this syndrome, hospitalization is required to monitor the children thoroughly.
Children may also be infected with the virus and show no symptoms at all. This is a threat to the people around them because they will serve as a carrier and infect others.
Why should kids wear a mask?
COVID-19 can easily be transmitted when an infected person talks, sneezes, breathes or coughs.
“People may catch the virus even if the person who infected them does not display any kind of symptom. Droplets can easily land on a child’s eyes, mouth, or nose. Aerosols may also linger in the air for a long time. Hence, it can easily be breathed in.” said Ms. Chiu from The Kare Lab, a medical supply manufacturer located in Asia.
This is why kids must wear a mask as well. COVID-19 can easily be spread in many ways and masks provide protection not only for your kids but for the people around them as well. It serves as an additional layer of safety that prevents unwanted particles from entering the respiratory system of those who are wearing it.
Masks are especially important in situations wherein physical distancing is impossible or difficult.
When should kids wear a mask?
The majority of the children should wear a mask to protect themselves from the virus but rules depend based on the countries, BBC reports.
For children ages 2 years and above, there are instances wherein they should wear their masks:
- In settings wherein, physical distancing of at least 6 feet away from other people is impossible – both outdoor and indoor places.
- In places where there are many people – such as groceries, malls, and indoor establishments.
- If they are manifesting any symptom that points to COVID-19 like cough, fever, sore throat, and loss of smell and taste.
- If they have been exposed to persons who tested positive in COVID-19.
However, there are certain instances wherein they are not required to do so. Here are some exemptions from wearing masks:
- Children below 2 years of age.
- Children with comorbidities or conditions that cause difficulty of breathing.
- Children with developmental disabilities.
- Children that cannot remove their masks by themselves.
How do you help your kids mask up?
Children, more often than not, perceive masks as a scary thing. Partly because it hides half of their face, and no facial expression can be seen from those who wear it. To make your children feel more comfortable with wearing face masks, here are some tips you can follow:
- Mask up and be a good example towards your children so they would not feel alone.
- Practice wearing masks with your children and let them practice how to put them on and how to remove them.
- Let your children know that it is alright to feel anxious about it.
- Ease their worries by reassuring them that it is for their safety.
- Explain the importance of wearing face masks especially during this time of COVID-19.
- Let your children pick the mask for them. Some face masks specifically designed for kids come with various colors and cartoon characters that make it less threatening.
During these hard times, the best thing we can do is try our best to protect ourselves and the children. COVID-19 impacted the world greatly, and as responsible citizens, we must do our part in reducing the transmission of the virus and protecting the children. They are more susceptible to contracting this virus, so wearing masks is essential to help control its transmission.