Coronavirus

Health experts offer tips for talking to students about coronavirus

Coronavirus

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Health professionals in Roanoke are emphasizing the importance of teaching children about wearing masks in order to ease any fear, as well teaching students about social distancing before they head back to school.

Dr. Robert Trestman, Chair of Psychiatry, and Behavioral Medicine at Virginia Tech, says explaining to your children not to fear masks may mean more conversation.

“You still have to as a parent teach your kids all of the normal safety things, but it’s really important to model for your children that mask-wearing is necessary,” he explained.

According to Dr. Christopher A. Pierce, a pediatrician for Carilion Clinic, parents must set an example.

“Our children model after ourselves, and if they see us resisting that and not accepting that, very much so, they’re going to fall into that same trap,” Dr. Pierce stated.

Teaching children about the CDC guidelines and recommendations is imperative in order to prevent them from catching the virus.

“The hard thing will be the reminder of not touching their faces not touching other kids, and that’s just so hard in the young grade school age,” Dr. Pierce said.

“For kids, it means that we have to think through how we how we play with each other, that we need to be very thoughtful about not wrestling or hugging,” Dr. Trestman agreed.

Masks are simply part of our new normal.

According to Dr. Trestman, “It’s important to share with kids that the masks that we wear are helping to protect each other and are helping to reduce the spread of the infection.”

Dr. Pierce — who has been a pediatrician for more than 20 years — says that masks do not strain the lungs or change carbon dioxide intake or oxygen levels.

“No effect on breathing, no negative effect. No. Absolutely safe,” Dr. Pierce emphasized.

With no end in sight, psychiatrist Dr. Trestman also says it’s important to make sure your children know the rules are constantly changing.

“Reinforce that there may be changes so that they don’t get too disappointed if things don’t turn out the way we expect,” he said.

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