Published on June 29, 2020

Mother and sons wearing masks and using hand sanitizer

COVID-19: What Your Family Needs to Know

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues in Iowa and Illinois and with an increase in cases possible in the coming months. Parents may be wondering how they can prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect their families. Genesis Health System understands their concern, and it’s always a good idea to take precautionary measures against the spread of germs—and not only against this specific virus.

How can I protect my family?

The best way to prevent a respiratory infection is to avoid exposure. Here are other simple steps you can take to lower the risk of having or spreading illness.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The Centers for Disease Control recommends hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Wear a mask in public settings and during encounters with others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching tissues.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid contact with others when you are sick.
  • If you show symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough, loss of senses of taste or smell – seek medical attention.
  • If you experience shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention.

It is recommended that you have an adequate supply of medicines your family members use regularly.

Should I wear a mask?

This has been a mixed message. The guidance now is for healthy individuals to wear a mask at work and in all public settings. Masks help prevent spread of virus. Masks are required for care providers and patients in most health care settings.

What are the symptoms for children?

Symptoms of COVID-19 infections of children are similar to those of a lower respiratory infection. Use the following guidance to determine whether or not your child needs medical care:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath from continued coughing
  • Refusing liquids with decreased urine frequency
  • Crying without ability to be consoled
  • Fever that is not responsive to fever reducing medications
  • Behavior that is not normal for your child
  • Call your child’s pediatrician or clinic immediately prior to visiting an office or facility if you are concerned that your child has any of these symptoms. Most children with COVID-19 infections have mild symptoms and do not require medical care, however, call your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned.

Can children play outside?

Yes. Transmission of the virus is higher indoors than outdoors. Your children should still practice social distancing and good hand hygiene outdoors. Encourage your children to play outdoors and set a good example by planning activities with them.

Is my child feeling stress?

Watch for warning signs of stress, including:

  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Unhealthy sleeping habits
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration

What is Genesis doing?

As public health agencies closely monitor the outbreak, Genesis has adopted a number of precautions for patients and staff. Precautions include asking patients to call provider offices in advance before seeking care; use of personal protection equipment, referred to as PPE; requiring social distancing in Genesis offices; new office check-in procedures; visitor restrictions; a comprehensive testing program; and, taking the temperature and asking screening questions of all hospital visitors.


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