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Steps teens should take to keep themselves & others safe during coronavirus pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some easy ways for children to stay safe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some easy ways for children to stay safe. (Cleveland Clinic News Service)

The number of COVID-19 cases reported among teens is continuing to climb, so what can be done to help stop the spread?

Skyler Kalady, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s said, for starters, remind them that they’re not invincible — anyone can get this virus.

“Many children are generally healthy, which is great, but others are not,” she said. “We do have an obesity epidemic in adolescence, and many that have kidney disease, hypertension, asthma — those chronic illnesses. So even looking at themselves, they can reflect and say, ‘You know, I actually do have a little bit of a higher risk.‘”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some easy ways for children to stay safe. For example, they can still socialize with friends but at a distance. If they’re hanging out in person, they should keep at least 6 feet apart and also avoid hanging out in big groups. Good hygiene is just as important. Teens should routinely wash their hands and properly cover their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze.

As for masks, Kalady said those are critical. She knows they can be uncomfortable, but, like anything else, they’ll eventually get used to them.

“There is very clear evidence to support that people wearing masks will be much less likely to transmit and acquire COVID-19,” said Kalady. “So it’s really critical both to protect the child and those around them if they were asymptomatic and at risk for passing to wear a mask.”

She said parents shouldn’t simply tell their children what to do but show them, as well, because setting a good example can make a big difference.