Thumb Sucking and Covid-19


girl wearing a doctors mask


We cannot escape the news or the impact this virus is currently having on the world, Covid-19 is a serious issue. People have died. Lives are on hold as people are instructed to self-isolate. Panic buying has emptied store shelves. Schools are being closed and events are being canceled. It is clear that throughout the world, we all have to do our best to contain and stop the spread of this virus. Whilst the restrictions are going to have an impact on us all, we understand they are for the good of the population as a whole.

So what does this have to do with thumb sucking?

Unfortunately, whilst thumb sucking is natural for babies, because of the way the virus is transmitted, parents are having to be far more vigilant. The facts we know about how the virus is spread mean it has become more important to discourage older babies, toddlers and young children from thumb sucking.

We are all advised that Covid-19 viral particles can survive up to three days on some surfaces, such as plastic and stainless steel. We also know the virus is spread like the flu, from person to person.

When a person infected with COVI D-19 is speaking, or when they cough or sneeze, droplets of their saliva containing the virus can leave the mouth and settle on surfaces.

When an infected child is also a thumb sucker, they directly deposit the virus in greater quantities onto surfaces they touch. This is because a wet thumb, just removed from the mouth, will deposit more saliva on a surface than droplets from a sneeze.

We may then become infected by touching those same surfaces or objects and then touching our eyes, mouths or nose.

Equally, toddlers and young children, who cannot understand the implications, are unlikely to wash their hands prior to thumb sucking. If they have touched an infected surface before putting their thumb or fingers into their mouth, they can become infected too.

Encouraging your toddler or young child to stop thumb sucking is not easy, particularly if they are not old enough to understand why it is important for them. Thumb guards are one method you can try, in order to encourage your child not to suck.

Above all,  it remains essential that we all practice good hygiene and continue to teach our children to do the same. Make sure you, and your children, regularly wash your hands and dry them thoroughly. If you have a baby or toddler you will need to regularly wash their hands for them.

Remember good cough etiquette means coughing or sneezing into a tissue and then disposing of it. If you do not have a tissue, try to cover your mouth with your elbow before you cough or sneeze. Avoid coughing into your hand. I know this can be tricky to teach to children. We tell our children to pretend they are an elephant when they cough, putting their arm over their mouth like a trunk.

Please note, I am not a qualified health advisor. I have written this article as a parent and a business owner because the product I make and my general knowledge might be of help. Please contact your health practitioner if you have concerns or symptoms of Covid-19.



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