The Covid-19 pandemic has raised many concerns, especially for parents.
*Olwethu is a full-time student and a first-time mom who’s raising her three-year-old son who was born with respiratory issues.
While some of the symptoms of coronavirus may include a dry cough and a high temperature, the deadly virus also reportedly causes respiratory infections which can be dangerous for people already living with respiratory issues such as asthma.
The Durban-based woman shares how she’s dealing with the threat of Covid-19 as a young mother to a little boy who has lung issues.
This is her story.
“My biggest concern with Covid-19 is that it causes respiratory illnesses.
My son has had respiratory issues since he was born. It gets worse in winter and it usually leads him to being hospitalised and monitored in the hospital while using a nebuliser.
One of my greatest fears is what the effects would be if he contracted Covid-19.
Thankfully schools have closed as a precautionary measure, so that’s helped. And since we've been encouraged to practise social distancing, this will reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
On my part, I have to ensure that his immune system is at its optimum, as advised by his doctor.
I do this by including more immune system-boosting foods such as citrus fruits in his daily meals and ensuring he takes his multivitamins on a daily basis.
As a household we’ve also bought an alcohol-based sanitiser and use it every so often; before and after preparing food, after using the bathroom, etc.
'It’s important for us to remain calm'
I’ve also taught my little one good cough etiquette – which is to cough into the grove of his elbow. I’ve also tried to emphasise the importance of not touching his face along with other foreign surfaces during this time which can be quite difficult for any curious three-year-old.
This is why disinfecting our immediate space and surroundings is also essential.
But it’s important for us to remain calm and optimistic during this time and to try to make sure that our little ones while on holiday stick to their normal schedules as much as possible.
Fortunately for us, my son's creche teacher has sent parents the daily schedule that the kids were using.
This helps with maintaining routine for the kids so that it won't be difficult for them to readjust when schools re-open.”
'The pneumonia vaccine'
Speaking to YOU magazine, Professor Keertan Dheda from the Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity at the University of Cape Town advised that people with chronic respiratory infections should practice social distancing and avoid public gatherings to prevent contracting the viral infection.
“In addition, such persons should take the pneumonia vaccine,” he said.
“This will not protect directly against Covid-19 but will be protective against some forms of bacterial pneumonia that often occur after a viral infection like influenza or Covid-19.”
There’s no evidence proving that taking Vitamin C or zinc is helpful in any way during this period, but flu medications and cough mixtures can provide “minor relief of symptoms”, Dheda added. “But they won’t make much difference to the outcome of Covid-19 infections.”
People with low Vitamin D levels should take Vitamin D supplementation “as this can improve immunity against different types of respiratory pathogens”, he advised.
*Not her real name