China is accelerating the removal of unnecessary COVID-19 restrictions to bring people's lives back closer to normalcy. It is more urgent for vulnerable groups, including children and pregnant women, to take more measures to protect themselves. Here's some advice from medical experts at Peking University Third Hospital and Beijing Children's Hospital of Capital Medical University.
Q: Are pregnant and new mothers more susceptible to COVID-19? How can they protect themselves from the virus?
A: For the pregnant and new mothers, the risk of getting infected by the Omicron strain is close to that of the general population. Infected pregnant women and new mothers show similar symptoms to those found in the general population, such as dry throat, cough, runny nose, body aches, and fever.
Generally speaking, COVID-19 infection does not cause greater damage to the health of the pregnant and new mothers than to the general population.
Women planning to get pregnant should be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus before pregnancy to boost their immunity. They should also improve their physical condition before pregnancy.
For pregnant and new moms, they should take the following key steps:
- Wear masks in public places;
- Wear N95 masks when going to hospitals;
- Avoid going to crowded places;
- Ventilate homes and offices regularly to keep the air circulating;
- Wash hands thoroughly after getting back from outside.
Q: What if pregnant and new mothers need to see a doctor when undergoing home isolation?
A: The pregnant and new mothers under home quarantine should relax and contact midwifery institutions when they need medical services. If it is a routine physical examination, they should reschedule it; if it's an emergency, they should ask community workers to help seek medical treatment through special channels.
Q: As winter is the season with high incidences of infectious respiratory diseases, is it necessary for children to go to hospital if they have a fever or cough?
A: Fall and winter see higher incidences of respiratory illnesses among children, with fever and cough being the most common symptoms. Many pathogens, such as influenza viruses and some bacteria, can cause the respiratory diseases.
If the children develop a high fever lasting for more than three days, with frequent cough or vomiting, or even lumps appearing on the body, diarrhea, pus, and blood stool, decreased urine output, breathing difficulty, and unconsciousness, parents should take the children to the hospital in time.
Q: Should families with children stock up on medicines?
A: Prepare some antipyretic drugs suitable for children. Storing too many medicines is not recommended. Follow the doctor's advice and read the instructions carefully before taking the medicines.
Children staying at home should establish a regular life routine, sleep enough, and maintain a healthy diet and do exercises regularly. As the weather in North China is relatively dry in winter, parents should see that children drink enough water, strengthen parent-child communication, and maintain a positive mood.