As moms, it’s easy and understandable to worry about what will happen if there is a full-blown local Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak—trying not to get sucked into spending hours on the media coverage and literature on the virus can be difficult. My best advice would be to stick to the facts, not the headlines. Headlines can be extremely misleading. From what we know now and the fact it’s mild in children, I’m most worried about my parents contracting the virus and not as much about my immediate family. That being said, we are still learning more every day.
I’ve always been cautious not to focus too much of my energy on the things I can’t control but to focus that energy on things I can. When it comes to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the only thing I can control is how I prepare my family for protection against a local outbreak.
For our family, preparing for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) means getting our family as healthy and strong as possible, stocking up our home with supplies, and then living our lives with a bit more caution. If there comes a time it is safer to stay inside, then venture out we will be prepared. Other than these things, we are going on with our lives as usual.
The good thing about preparing in these ways is that teaching our kids to be extra diligent about hygiene, strengthening our families’ immune systems, and having enough supplies in our home, are all great things to be doing regardless.
Washing the sh*t out of those hands and homes
Hand washing is the single most important thing when trying to protect our children and ourselves from any respiratory illness. Washing your hands with as warm of water as possible and scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds should be your goal. Washing hands before each meal, when anyone comes home from being out, after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose, before bed, the more, the better! It’s tough to teach a baby or toddler not to put their hands in their nose, mouth, or eyes, so this will give them the most protection possible. Again, the biggest thing is cleaning your hands before touching yourself, and though the virus seems to be mild in children (thank God), they can still spread it.
A great way to be proactive in fighting the virus at home includes cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects daily. This might include handles, light switches, cell phones, cabinet knobs, remote controls, etc. You can use a regular household detergent and water. Though if surfaces are dirty, you want to
1) clean them with water and detergent then
2) disinfect the surface with one of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved products. You can find the list HERE.
Strengthening our immune system
Adding some supplements to you and your children’s routine can help strengthen your immune systems.
Here are a few products we use:
Me: I take Binto vitamins to help keep me healthy. I’ve been using their supplements for a few months and enjoy their program. You take a quiz to see what supplements would be best for you, and they send you your supplements every 30 days. You can find their site HERE. I take their probiotic, CoQ10, Vitamin B12, NAC, and their algae Oil Omega 3 | DHA/EPA. All of their vitamins are organic, vegan, and gluten-free.
The Kids: The boys are taking Garden of Life Raw probiotics for kids, HERE. They take a little in a small glass of water in the morning. This formula supports both digestive health and immune health. For kids 4 and older, you can try Garden of Life Dr. formulated cherry chewable tablets, HERE. I’m also giving them elderberry syrup daily, HERE. It’s sweet, so they take it right from the spoon. I just added in the OmegaPals EPA/DHA omega-3 from fish oil HERE, and I’m diffusing the Enfleurage Immune Aid essential oil, HERE. I’m proactively giving the boys the Beekeepers’ throat spray for daily immune support, HERE. You can also do something simple, like adding in smoothies to your kid’s diet. Our dentists also recommended XLear nasal spray, HERE , while traveling for the kids. XLear has Xylitol, which helps fight microorganisms in the sinuses. This helps them breathe through their nose better, and nasal breathing is better for immunity VS. mouth breathing.
More on elderberry syrup: Black elderberry is a small, antioxidant-rich fruit, and scientists at Sydney University studied its properties. Here were the results: “What our study has shown is that the common elderberry has a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus,” said Dr. Golnoosh Torabian. “It inhibits the early stages of infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells.” Overall the berries and flowers of elderberry are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost your immune system, so it’s an easy way to help strengthen your kid’s immune systems.
Babs has always been a big believer in having enough supplies in your home to last you a few months. If you have the room in your home, investing in everyday household items, and food and water that could last around 30 days is a great way to begin to prepare. I’m not going out and investing a small fortune in things we will never eat; I’m just buying more of the food we already love. That way, if we don’t need it in the next few months, we can eat and replace this food. I will share what I bought below. Again, this is everything we already eat, just in bulk. We invested in a separate chest freezer when we moved into our home, and it’s one of my favorite purchases HERE. We use THIS supplier for all of our meats and THIS supplier for our water.
I ordered enough to last us at least 30 days but the incubation period can be up to 14 days :
Chickpea Mac + cheese
Frozen fruit + veggies
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol)
Shampoo + Conditioner
Doing this not only prepares us so we can stay out of stores during a local outbreak, but it is the responsible thing to do as a member of a smaller community. Most cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) do not require hospitalization but do require containment. If your family gets sick and you go to the store to stock up after you are already ill, you are putting your entire community at risk.
Living our lives with a bit more caution
This might include refraining from shaking hands and hugging others, avoiding public bathrooms or using a paper towel to open public bathroom doors, sneezing into a tissue and throwing the tissue out instead of sneezing in our elbow or hands, disinfecting objects you frequently touch daily and staying home when sick are all important. If you are out in a crowd and see someone that is sick, make sure to keep at least six feet away. The CDC also just reported any gathering over 100 people should be canceled.
We are supposed to be heading on a nonrefundable vacation next Friday. Travel would include bringing both boys on a 2-hour flight out of LGA. I called our pediatrician, and he said at this time (3/4/2020), it’s ok to fly to locations where there is not an outbreak. He said to be extra diligent about washing hands and, most importantly, strangers touching your kids. I’m very torn around what we should do. Part of me thinks it’s not worth it, but then when I look past the headlines, and at the numbers, the other part of me is like hmmmmm. (UPDATED SEE BELOW)
From the mouth of the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, “Don’t panic, but prepare. We’re not going into a crazy movie situation where the world is on fire, but we may be going into a situation where people are walking around who are sick.”
TRAVEL UPDATE (3/10/2020):
Before I tell you our decision, I want you to know we did not make this out of fear. We gathered all the facts and made the best decision we could based on our situation. We decided to postpone our vacation for many reasons, so please read through.
1) Traveling alone with two kids: I was supposed to fly with both boys on Friday. I actually came up with an almost foolproof plan if everything went as planned….which yes, hardly ever happens. If it went as planned, it would have been great, but there were too many moving pieces for me to feel confident that I would be able to get them from NY to down south without touching unsanitized surfaces and putting their hands on their face and in their mouth. This has been weighing on me. I’m usually so laid back about things like this, but with a virus that is brand new VS the flu that’s been around for 2,000 years, we just don’t know enough about the Coronavirus yet for me to take that risk. I will be sharing a new blog post tomorrow with tips on flying with your littles during the Coronavirus outbreak because I had some great ideas!
2) Visiting Ray’s parents: During the later part of our trip, we were going to stay with Rays’ parents. His dad is older and the CDC just released a statement that anyone over 60 OR who have chronic illnesses like diabetes to stock up on goods and buckle down for a lengthy stay at home. The CDC expanded its guidelines for people at extreme risk and it includes these two populations. With the virus taking five days to start showing symptoms, we couldn’t take that risk. Babs + my father also fall into this category. We would have to change the end of our trip to bypass seeing Ray’s parents and stay away from my parents for two weeks upon return, just to be safe.
3) Getting stuck? What if we got stuck? There are so many updates by the hour and though getting stuck on vacation sounds like a dream to me Ray would just not have been able to fully relax with so much going on because he would need to get back for work. I want nothing more than to get out of the northeast as NY just became the state with the most cases in the country and they just sent the National Guard into New Rochell. I just want to gather up my girlfriends and their kids and rent a house somewhere far away (warm of course!)
I’m not recommending everyone cancel their vacations, but I just wanted to give you some insights into our unique situation. We are more likely to catch it here than being away, it was just the transit part I was not 100 percent comfortable with as we were flying out of JFK. The three types of travel I would hands-down cancel would be cruise ship, any park including Disney, and international travel. I get the argument that the flu kills more people but medical professionals understand the flu. I’ll put it this way if someone invented a flying car four months ago and only a fraction of people owned one, and there were all of a sudden 500 deaths from flying cars catching on fire and people were saying, “well way more people die each year from traditional auto car crashes .” Does that make sense?….It just doesn’t sit well with me when people compare it to the flu.
I kept the boys out of school this week because God forbid they catch the stomach flu right before we fly!! I’m not sure what the right move is now. I’m shocked they have not just closed schools and put religious gatherings on hold for two weeks (as religious gatherings seem to be spreading the Coronavirus rapidly) It seems pretty clear to me what needs to happen. Still, we seem to be getting so many mixed signals.
I took a survey about traveling, and I had hundreds of messages from moms, doctors, pediatricians, even some feedback from someone that has a friend at homeland security and a pilot. The majority of you said, GO! As it doesn’t really affect kids and just to sanitize the plane. That was the most common response, even from many peds. Some doctors said don’t go…. and someone that is friends with a person at homeland security said they should not travel domestically or internationally, and someone that is on calls daily for their job with the CDC said to cancel your trip…it’s bad.
We ended up changing our vacation to May as this was economically the best move. So now we just need to get through the next nine weeks. I hope we know much more by then and if we can’t fly, I’m getting in the car and driving!!
I’m just a tired mom that could use a vacation right now, and these are just my thoughts. Based on the numbers and data, I know the many of you will get on a plane and enjoy an incredible vacation. If you do go away, please promise me you will disconnect, relax, and enjoy a margarita in my honor.
Do not take this advice without checking with your doctor first. I gathered the majority of this information from the CDC website, and added what we are doing as a family in our own home