Are sleepovers safe? What kids want to know about COVID-19
EDMONTON -- Staying home and abandoning old routines is challenging for everyone, including children.
Here are some of the questions kids are asking about COVID-19.
TOUCHING OUR FACES
"I heard that we have to stop touching our faces, how do we stop?" eleven-year-old Olive asked.
Infectious diseases expert Dr. Lynora Saxinger says we have to train ourselves out of this habit by finding ways to pay closer attention.
"If you wear gloves for a while, you'll notice when you touch your face more because if feels weird, it feels different," Saxinger said. "Another neat thing I heard about people trying was using quite highly-scented hand lotion with like a perfume in it, so that when your hands get near your face, you smell that and it reminds you not to touch your face."
PLAYDATES AND SLEEPOVERS
"I was just wondering if you can hang out with friends or have a sleepover," Nathan, 10, asked.
Saxinger said no, playdates and sleepovers are not recommended as part of physical distancing.
"This question makes me feel really sad because kids have a tough job during the pandemic because they can't do a lot of things that they're used to doing and would like to do," she said. "Kids staying in and not contacting their friends actually turns out to be really important to protect people who are at risk of infection. And so you're kind of being superheroes."
She said she hopes this is one of the restrictions that will be relaxed early when things improve.
CAN THE VIRUS MUTATE?
"I'm wondering if COVID-19 could mutate or has mutated," 14-year-old Ella asked.
Saxinger explained that every infecting organism can mutate over time but that's not necessarily worrisome.
"Do we think that it will mutate enough that any treatment or vaccine that we come up with will no longer work? I don't think that looks to be the case," she answered. "It doesn't seem to be mutating in a significant way that would affect those things."
COVID-19 AND HEAT
Lauren, 17, says she heard the virus doesn't do well in heat.
"Is this true and does that mean the virus will slow down as it starts to warm up?" she asked.
Saxinger said it's not a reliable theory right now, particularly because countries with hot weather right now are still seeing significant outbreaks.
"And time will tell us whether this is something that's going to be coming back the way influenza comes back or it's something that might go away, we don't know yet," she added.