Prevention of Novel Coronavirus Infection, Recommendations for Parents

Questions or Misunderstanding about Novel Coronavirus Infection

Question 1: How to wear a surgical mask correctly?

Answer: Proper wearing of surgical masks can prevent respiratory infections and prevent the spread of this new virus. When wearing the mask, it should be kept close to the face, with the colored side facing outward. The mask should completely cover nose, mouth and chin. The metal edge should be pressed tightly along the bridge of the nose. The mask should be changed every day, and discarded into a covered trash bin. Please perform immediate hand hygiene after touching or removal of the mask.

Question 2: Can surgical masks be reused?

Answer: The design of surgical mask does not allow repeated use because pathogens stay on the filter layer which filters bacteria and viruses which can infect the user. As the innermost layer is used to absorb users’ mouth and nose discharge, repeated use of the mask is extremely unhygienic. In addition, do not use alcohol or chemical to damage the outer filter layer.

Question 3: Can pets be infected with the new coronavirus?

Answer: There is currently no scientific evidence that this new virus can be transmitted through household pets such as dogs and cats, but hand hygiene is always recommended after contact with pets as they can spread other bacteria such as Salmonella.

Question 4: Are children having less chance of infection by this novel coronavirus?

Answer: The confirmed cases reported around the world currently are mainly adults and elderly people, and most of them suffer from chronic illnesses. However, a few confirmed children cases have been reported. Due to the potential risks of community transmission in Hong Kong, and that children’s awareness of epidemic prevention and personal protection is not as high as adults, it is vitally important to stay vigilant and adhere to the preventive measures.

Question 5: Is it possible to sterilize and reuse surgical masks by steaming?

Answer: High temperature and moisture will damage the material of the mask and render it useless. Never try to steam and reuse masks.

Question 6: Does taking child health supplements help to prevent this new infection?

Answer: Parents may spend a lot on child health supplements. In fact, there is no scientific evidence to prove their preventive effect. On the contrary, maintaining children’s healthy lifestyle such as having a healthy diet, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are the best way to boost their immunity.

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This Recommendation is prepared jointly by Hong Kong College of Paediatricians and Hong Kong Society for Paediatric Immunology Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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