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How to protect kids from coronavirus

A lot of parents are wondering how to keep their kids from getting sick and doctors say kids aren't as likely to catch the COVID-19 virus.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Parents have flooded 10 News with questions about how to protect kids from COVID-19, so we took your questions to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Pete.

Dr. Juan Dumois is a Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician. He stressed to us the most important thing to do is not to panic. "If you're not worried about the flu don't be worried about the coronavirus because the flu is a much bigger deal. In the United States this season, we believe the flu has killed 18,000 people just this season and coronavirus has killed only a handful. Most of those people are very elderly people in a nursing home," said Dumois.

In the wake of a third "presumptive positive" case of COVID-19 in the Tampa area, we took your top questions to Dr. Dumois.

Can my kids catch the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus?

Dr. Dumois said that luckily, it seems like kids do not catch the virus as easily as adults, or people with weakened immune systems. If they do catch the virus, they will show either no symptoms or have a very mild exhibition of those symptoms.

How can I protect my family?

"Protect your family from this the same way you'd protect them from any other winter virus," said Dr. Dumois. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Wash your hands often. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth after touching public surfaces. Disinfect surfaces in your home.

Will taking supplements help protect us?

"There's no evidence that supplements help," said Dr. Dumois. Instead, he suggests eating a healthy, balanced diet. If you have a poor diet and don't get enough servings of fruits and vegetables, you may take a supplement to improve your nutrient intake. That in turn could help your immune system, keeping you from getting sick.

Will getting a flu shot protect me from coronavirus?

You can actually get the flu and coronavirus at the same time. "We do recommend you get your flu shot because that's a bigger problem for us right here in the United States," said Dr. Dumois.

What's the treatment for coronavirus?

There is no treatment. Instead, medical professionals will treat the symptoms. You'll get medications to treat your fever and cough.

Will wearing a mask protect me?

Masks are intended for people that are already sick, to keep the virus from spreading onto surfaces and onto other people. A healthy person does not need to wear a mask.

How effective are antibacterial cleaners?

Dr. Dumois says that your Lysol or Clorox wipes will kill germs, but there's no need to buy anything new. You can use a solution of one part bleach and 10 parts water to disinfect hard surfaces in your home. 

What's the best thing I can do?

Bring hand sanitizer with you out in public. Use it after you touch shared surfaces and make sure your kids use it too.

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