Call your doctor or county health department for advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have developed symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing. Remember, you can recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Regardless of age, all of us are being affected by COVID-19, our routines are changing, our typical supports are disrupted, but caring for our families remains a priority. For that matter, taking care of our physical health has become more important due to high levels of stress and long periods of isolation. Before you follow our recommendations, first follow the expert's advice and take the necessary steps to avoid getting or spreading COVID-19.
Who is most at risk? Research shows that older adults (over the age of 65) and people with underlying medical conditions (heart or lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc.) are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and/or experiencing more severe health complications due to COVID-19.
We recommend that you...
STAY HOME if you live with someone who is over the age of 65
STAY HOME if you live with someone who has an underlying medical condition or a serious illness
Practice physical distancing but not social isolation! To help lessen the impact of social distancing on older adults check in regularly through phone calls or video chats (including younger children). Give them projects they could work on so that they feel involved. Offer to bring them a meal, run an errand, or do their groceries. Encourage them to create a daily routine that consists of enjoyable activities (walks, music, games).
If you have family members with a disability, communicate honestly about COVID-19 but don't exaggerate news, answer their questions while assuring them your goal is to keep them safe, and check-in frequently to provide support. For more information refer to COVID-19 Information By and For People with Disabilities and The Arc.
If you have family members with a mental health conditions, notice that stress, fear, and anxiety can be even more overwhelming for them so creating a support system and plan is pivotal. Make sure they continue their treatments and have at least a 4-week supply of medication. Ensure they accurately informed to help reduce their stress. Remind them of their most effective coping strategies (breaths, meditation, exercise). Encourage healthy eating habits and a sleeping routine to unwind. For immediate assistance refer to the National Alliance on Mental Illness COVID-19 Guide.
For more details visit Improve Your COVID-19 Knowledge.
You can provide the best support for your child if you are calm, confident and prepared. Not all children respond to stress in the same way, therefore, make sure to look for behavior changes in your child. You can support your child by talking to them about COVID-19 while assuring they are safe, answering their questions with simple facts and limiting exposure to news. Try to keep regular routines or make new ones, be a role model of flexibility, adaption, and self-care. Refer to A Parent Resource: Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Parents can help children stay socially connected by organizing virtual play dates with friends and family via phone or video chat, writing letters or making drawings to those they cannot visit, and hosting a virtual movie night with apps like Netflix Party to watch the movie together. Here are 12 tips to help kids cope with social distancing.
Parents can also help their children with a disability by talking to children about how they will continue to receive services, acknowledging their fears and allowing for the expression of feelings, and talking to their pediatrician about medical supplies beyond 30 days. Here is some advice for caregivers of children with disabilities in the era of COVID-19.
Too little sleep or irregular sleep increases your risk for poor immune functioning. Did you know that sleep helps reduce stress, anxiety, inattention, behavior concerns, and mood swings? Sleep also improves your body's chances of fighting off infections. We recommend that you create a consistent bedtime routine and that you avoid talking about COVID-19 worries before bedtime. Below you will find a table of the recommended hours of sleep by age group.
|Population||Hours of Sleep Recommended|
|Recommended Adults||7-9 hours per night|
|Newborns (0-3 months)||11-14 Hours per day (including naps)|
|Infants (4-11 months)||12-15 Hours per day (including naps)|
|Toddlers (1-2 years old)||11-14 Hours per day (including naps)|
|Preschoolers (3-5 years old)||10-13 Hours per day (including naps)|
|School-aged (6-12 years old)||9-11 Hours per night|
|Teenagers and Young Adults (13-25 years old)||8-10 Hours per night|
Making healthy choices under times of stress may feel difficult, but what can facilitate good food choices are making a schedule or daily meal plans. Prioritizing fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats in your groceries list. Make space for comfort foods or treats at least once a week, but don't buy items that you cannot avoid eating in large amounts. Make cooking healthy fun by doing it virtually with friends and family.
Getting kids to enjoy healthy foods is a common challenge for parents, but getting them to eat healthy has to be modeled and facilitated, here are a few tips:
Tip 1: Feed/Serve them the fruits and veggies FIRST.
Tip 2: Make food plates colorful.
Tip 3: Serve fruits in fun ways-in shapes or animal silhouettes.
Tip 4: Add greens to their smoothies.
Tip 5: Involve children in the cooking - it's a family activity.
Tip 6: Leave food they refuse to eat in the plate - they need to see the food for some time before they try it.
For more fun ideas around healthy eating for kids visit MyPlate Kids' Place.
Accessing healthy foods may be more challenging now for some families, for help visit Feeding South Florida.
Exercise is key for healthy and strong immune systems. It is recommended that you engage in at least 20 minutes of exercise per day. Indoors you can do some cardio by dancing, following an exercise video, walking briskly or up and down stairs. Outdoors avoid populated areas and maintain 6 feet distance while jogging, biking, or doing gardening or lawn work. Just don't sit all day, staying active during the coronavirus pandemic is important.
Incorporate physical activity into your day by taking breaks of 5 to 10 minutes. Make stretching fun for kids by hopping like a frog or walking like a crab. Take kids outside 2 times a day, if possible, to play ball, jump rope, ride bike, or just run free. For more ideas, see Ideas for At-Home Physical Activity During Isolation.