UNICEF’s answers to frequently asked questions from children about coronavirus
how to talk about COVID-19 with younger children
Why are so many people talking about something called coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a group of viruses that can make people feel sick.
Viruses are such tiny organisms that you can't see them, they can only be seen with very special lenses to look at tiny things. Because they are so small, they can easily enter the body and can make people feel sick.
Coronaviruses are a type of virus that called that way because they appear to have crowns.
Coronaviruses have existed for many years, but recently a new member appeared in the coronavirus family called “coronavirus 2019” that no one knew about!
So we are learning how it travels between people and what it does inside our bodies to make us feel sick.
It is very famous because it is new!
Can it enter my body?
Yes. But it doesn't fly alone. To travel you need to go from one person to another. This is called "contagion" which is the way the virus is passed from one body to the other.
Coronavirus cannot jump very far so to travel use the following ways:
- It can jump from hand to hand when people greet or touch. So it is important to wash your hands with soap and water for the duration of a song. They can also be washed with alcoholic soaps that dry on their own.
- During the next few days, if someone comes up to greet you warmly, you can wave your hand at them without touching them. Your greeting can be just as affectionate with gestures and a smile!
- It can travel in the droplets of saliva that jump when we talk, touch or sneeze. If you see someone coughing or sneezing better stay away so that the droplets do not reach you.
- Or it can stay waiting on a table or furniture that someone with the virus touched, and get on the next person who touches that furniture or thing. But do not worry because if they are cleaned well the virus stops being there.
And what happens if it enters my body?
You might feel a little bad, like when you have a cold. You may have a fever, cough, and a feeling that it is taking a while to breathe.
But just like other times you have been sick, after a few days you will feel better and you will play with your friends again!
Almost everyone after a few days feels good again.
The people who take care of you will keep you safe and protected
So adults are watching the news about the new coronavirus. They are learning how to take care of you and protect you so that you are well.
If you feel sick, the adults will take care of you so you can get better soon.
And if you've been with someone who got sick from coronavirus, you may have to stay a few days at home even if you're feeling fine. This way they can take better care of you if you start to feel sick and prevent the virus from continuing to travel to other children.
It can also happen that for a few days you may not be able to go to daycare or preschool. You may not like that, but it is important because it is a way of being protected so that you don’t get infected.
In the mean time, there are many scientists working to stop the virus from traveling and who are looking for vaccines so that we are all protected.
Talk to the adults who care for you, and ask them all the questions that you have.
Everything you have felt and feel is fine.
It is normal to feel this way when you see adults concerned about something or when you have to stop doing something you were doing.
Sometimes there are diseases that reach many people. The important thing is that those who care for you are protecting you.
And remember, you can help stop the virus by washing your hands and following the other tips we gave you!