Thinkery wants to help you talk to your child(ren) and explain some basic information on viruses. Children may be wondering what a virus is and why it’s important to wash our hands. Read on to learn more about common questions your child(ren) might be asking.
Q: What is a virus?
Answer: A virus is one type of germ that can make people & animals sick.
Further explanation: Have you ever caught a cold or had the flu? Both of these sicknesses are also caused by different viruses. Another type of germ that you might have heard of is bacteria.
Q: What is a coronavirus?
Answer: A coronavirus is one type of virus that looks like it has a crown when you look at it under a microscope. The Latin word for crown is… corona.
Further explanation: Just like there are different types of fruits (like apples & bananas), there are different types of germs (like bacteria & viruses). And just like there are many different types of apples (like Red Delicious & Honeycrisp), there are many different types of viruses (like coronaviruses & rhinoviruses, which are the ones that cause the common cold – rhino means “nose” in Latin).
Q: Why do we have to keep washing our hands?
Answer: Viruses can get inside our bodies and make us sick if we touch our faces with germ-y hands. When you wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds, the soap has enough time to destroy viruses from the outside in!
Further explanation: While you’re washing your hands for 20 seconds, the soap is working to break apart the layer of fat that surrounds every coronavirus cell. Once the fat layer is broken open, the virus falls apart and its pieces can be washed down the drain.
Q: What are scientists working on right now to help people?
Answer: Virologists (people who study viruses) are working on improving their tests (to see if people have the virus) & on creating a vaccine (a shot that will stop people from getting sick from this virus).
Further explanation: Once scientists create a vaccine, they test it on volunteers to make sure that it is safe & that it works well. Then, they can give the vaccine to lots of people!
Now let’s see what you remember!
True or False: Soap can destroy viruses?
True! But remember, soap can only destroy viruses if it has enough time to break them apart… so wash your hands for 20 seconds – about the same length of time singing your favorite nursery rhyme a couple of times through!
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