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'They should not panic': How to talk to your kids about the coronavirus

The executive director of the Children's Home Society in Boise says parents should stay educated on the virus and practice good hygiene.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho is closely watching the coronavirus and preparing for when the disease is officially here.

The story from two nearby states is very different. Currently, there have been 11 deaths in Washington, and one in California.

It's the kind of news that can be hard to talk about, especially with kids. They’re probably wondering what this disease is and what they should know about it.

Anselme Sadiki is the executive director at Children’s Home Society in Boise. He told KTVB the best thing for parents to do is be informed.

“They should not panic, just like any virus or the flu the influenza virus,” he said. “There are things we can do to prevent contamination.”

It's important to be prepared by practicing good hygiene.

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“The one thing we do is to make sure we understand exactly to keep our hands clean,” Sadiki said. “What we have to do to avoid spreading the germs through let’s say coughing with our open mouths or not washing your hands when you go to the bathroom.”

Sadiki said it's important to emphasize to kids they can help prevent the disease from spreading, make them feel important and included.

“Give the kids that control also, but to make them feel like they can help to actually prevent this because they have the power,” he said. “It’s telling the kids they have that superpower to be able to prevent and help the adults.”

In a press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Christine Hahn who is the state epidemiologist, said there is some good news about the novel coronavirus.

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"It appears children are less vulnerable than adults,” she said. “We don't know that that is going to stay that way, I want to always emphasize this is a new virus, we're learning about it.”

The state is continuing to read up on cases from around the world in medical literature.

“Everything so far is reassuring about our kids’ safety,” Hahn said. “I know as a parent myself and I'm sure many of you out there are very encouraged to hear that.”

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