How To Help Your Child Understand Germs During COVID-19
“Is the germ bigger or smaller?” Alex asked her mom. The consequences of which would determine whether or not she could play with her friends. A bigger germ meant no and a smaller germ meant yes.
When COVID-19 numbers increase in Alex’s community, she had to stay far apart from her friends at the park and practice using her outside yell voice. It was confusing for Alex because other children were allowed to play together.
Every family has their own sense of right and wrong during a global pandemic. Alex’s family knew it was right to stay 6 feet apart and to wear masks in public places. Not all families, however, support scientific recommendations.
Very confusing for Alex as she hooked her kitty cat child’s mask around her ears and checked in the mirror that it covered her nose and mouth.
Alex’s family, despite being surrounded by “non‑maskers”, wanted her to keep the friendships she had established in her neighborhood. They were a new family and Alex had made great strides in her ability to socialize with same age peers even with her tendency to isolate, characteristic of children on the spectrum. Alex’s family were so proud of her adjusting to her new home, new community, and new school. Then COVID‑19 hit and playing with friends became dangerous.
Socializing is dangerous right now. We take risks when we play tennis, get haircuts, shop for food, and meet with friends. COVID‑19 is a virus easily transmitted.
Did you know viruses, like all living matter, reproduces using genetic material? DNA is the genetic material in humans; RNA is the genetic material in the COVID‑19 virus.
DNA, as we are all taught in science class during middle school, is an amazing double helix of genetic material. Under an electron microscope it looks like a ladder that is twisted like red licorice. The rungs of the ladder attach one strand to the other. But each rung of the ladder is coded with specific genetic material. The strands have very specific codes that the ladder rung matches up on its partner’s strand. Any mix-up in this genetic material must be corrected before the double helix DNA molecule is able to reproduce. Correcting mix-ups or “irregularities” stops the DNA from reproducing until the irregularity can be corrected.
RNA is a single strand of genetic material. There is no double check system to ensure that one strand appropriately matches its partner strand. An RNA molecule is a single strand that has infinite possibilities to combine with other molecules and other genetic material. RNA can quickly adapt to new environments.
So far, the COVID-19 virus has successfully adapted to weak human hosts, such as elderly people with respiratory problems. COVID-19 is passed from one host to another through the respiratory system. Each time the COVID‑19 virus moves from one host to another it takes all the information it learned and moves on to the next.
Picture taking a college respirology 101 class as the virus’ first experience in a weak human host. When the virus moves [infects] a new host, it has already completed the same respirology 101 class and can easily pass the college quizzes and move to the head of the class. Eventually, the virus learns so much about weak human hosts’ respiratory systems that they are expert. They are even able to inhabit [infect] a healthy human host’s respiratory system. Even a young person’s healthy respiratory system.
In the virus’ desire to continue to exist, it begins to adapt and move into other organ systems. The more of the host’s organs it learns to adapt to, the greater chance the virus has to survive. And that is all any virus wants to do, is survive.
Eventually, the virus can learn how to live in the bone marrow, the joint space, and can mimic a pseudoarthritis condition in younger people. Many times the virus will sit silently.
When the virus sits in a silent host it is referred to as a reservoir host. Much like the field mouse is a reservoir host for Lyme disease. Lyme disease is not transmissible to humans until it reaches the amplifier host, the deer.
RNA, being a single strand, is highly adaptable, mutable, and easily evolved to continue to exist. Unlike DNA, however, it is very unstable. Because COVID‑19 is an RNA virus, it is very unstable and heck-a weak. All it requires is for the host to be 6 feet apart and to not transmit through any respiratory particles. The need for a 6 foot physical distance and the need for facial masks kills the virus forever. The host wins and the virus dies.
We need to applaud Alex’s family for teaching Alex about germs. We need to applaud all families that are working so hard to kill COVID‑19.
Suzanne’s book, Unique Learner Solutions is available to purchase on this website! (CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE), Unique Learner Solutions.