How can you keep family safe?

Published 9:25 pm Friday, April 3, 2020

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With the stay-at-home order taking effect Saturday in Pike County, individuals and families throughout the county are concerned about to best protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Elizabeth Dawson, medical director at Charles Henderson Child Health Center, said she understands the concern and wants to help answer questions.

“The unprecedented worldwide coronavirus pandemic is causing uncertainty, anxiety and frustration in every part of our community,” she said. “As a pediatrician I am grateful to be able to offer guidance about choices we can make to keep our families safe.”

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How can members of my family catch Covid-19?

This is a highly contagious virus.  We can catch it by breathing in virus particles through our noses and mouths.  Those particles can come from people with flu-like symptoms OR from people who don’t seem to be sick.  The good news is that virus particles can only travel about six feet from an infected person’s mouth or nose.  Staying six feet away is the easiest way to keep from catching the coronavirus!  Please remember that Covid-19 can live on surfaces too.  Keep your hands away from your face if you have been touching a surface that may have been in contact with coronavirus particles.

Why are more and more people catching Covid-19?

Unfortunately there is no immunity to this coronavirus in humans, there is no medicine to cure it, and there is no vaccine yet. In fact, we are unlikely to have a vaccine in less than 12-18 months. To make matters worse, Covid-19 has frequently been transmitted by people without symptoms.  In Alabama it can take up to seven days to receive results from a Covid-19 test.  These factors combine to allow the virus to spread in a rapid, surreptitious fashion.  Many people in our community could be spreading Covid-19 right now and not even know it.

Kids usually don’t get as sick as adults from Covid-19.  That’s good news, but it adds to the element of risk for the rest of the population because kids can transmit the virus even if they aren’t feeling bad.  Please monitor your children’s interactions and ensure that they follow social distancing guidelines.  This is an opportunity for young people to make a difference!

What activities are safe to do in public?

It’s safe to shop for essential items IF you stay six feet apart from other shoppers.  Also remember to sanitize your hands after touching grocery carts, doorknobs and other surfaces in retail environments.  Covid-19 not transmitted in hot food so it’s safe to get take-out and drive-thru food.  Please limit your exposure to restaurant workers and other restaurant customers though.  The best practice is to put restaurant food on your own dishes and wash your hands after contact with restaurant food packaging.  Generally speaking the safest approach to carrying out necessary activities in public is to limit the number of times you go to public places and limit the number of people you take with you.

How can I keep my body and brain healthy during the pandemic?

Go outside!  The Covid-19 virus is not floating around in the air.  This is a great time to ride bikes, paddle a canoe, walk in the outdoors and run.  If you’re looking for something to do inside consider jumping jacks, pushups, sit-ups, running in place or a family dance party!

Keep an eye on local schools’ social media accounts for ways to keep your kids’ brains engaged in learning.  Read together as a family.  Play games, play cards, do puzzles and work on art projects together.

It’s important to reply to your kids’ questions about the pandemic honestly and sincerely.  Their concerns are just as real as ours and they depend on us for answers.  If you need information about the pandemic please contact your doctor or go to

Don’t forget to manage your own stress!  Parents need to be in a good state of mind to do their best work as caregivers, advocates, protectors and dance party leaders!

How can my family stay safe during doctor visits?

Most doctors’ offices are open by appointment during the pandemic.  Please keep in mind that doctors are continuously adjusting their procedures as the movement of the virus through our community creates the need for adaptation to mitigate risk.  For example you might encounter doctors who are screening patients, family members and staff with questions and temperature checks before they enter a clinic.  Many offices are separating visits for sick and well patients.  Some are offering telemedicine options and all health care facilities are increasing their level of cleaning and sanitizing activity.

Join us online for Virtual Expression Sessions at CHCHC!

You are invited to join us on Facebook Live starting this Wednesday at 3:30 for kid-friendly activities like Art(Wednesday), Zumba(Thursday) and Yoga(Friday).  Art supplies are available for pickup at CHCHC –we’ll have a pick up spot for them outside!  If you need more information please check out our Facebook page or call 334-566-7600. Remember that your choices about self quarantine, social distancing and travel will make a difference in the duration, severity and number of lives lost to Covid-19.  We will make it through this!