How can we talk to our children about Ebola?

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As parents, it is sometimes difficult to talk to our children. The situation can become even more complicated when we want to talk to them about something to do with health, such as Ebola. We ourselves may have doubts about Ebola, which, in some countries, has created serious public alarm that has even spread to some schools.

We will deal with the issue in this post and provide some advice and guidelines that may be helpful when sitting down with your children and teenagers to tell them about the disease.  

1.- Reassure them

Perhaps this is the most important piece of advice.  Ebola has spread outside Africa for the first time and this can mean that the real risk of contracting the disease is exaggerated in some specific places. 

So, first of all, when we sit down with our children to talk about the subject, it is important we explain to them that every country, emphasising our own country in particular, is prepared to deal with diseases such as this. We need to clearly explain that there are especially qualified professionals to deal with diseases of this type and that the infrastructure is in place to stop Ebola spreading on a large scale.

2.- Be honest and use direct language

It is essential to talk to them directly, not be alarming and to give them all the important information, without beating about the bush. For example, we could tell them that Ebola is a serious disease that emerged in Africa some years ago and that there is now greater concern as it has spread within Africa itself and the first cases are being seen in other places such as the USA and Europe. 

They will certainly understand that in these circumstances they should be extra careful about their health. It is important to stress that Ebola is only passed on by bodily fluids, so dispelling any doubts they may have about this.

3.- Use the opportunity to talk to them about their health

A quiet chat about Ebola with our children gives us a chance to talk to them about other health matters and how important it is for them to get involved by developing healthy habits and behaviour.

We should teach them the basic rules of hygiene, such as washing your hands, not sharing things that could pass on a virus (cups, handkerchiefs, toothbrushes) and the good habit of covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

As we sometimes say at Best Doctors, it is important to remember that your own health partly depends on you when it comes to protecting yourself and others from disease.  A healthy diet and physical activity are also important factors.

Best Doctors believes that good health can also be passed on through the spoken word by providing information clearly and accurately.  So, we encourage you to talk to your children about this and also about any other worrying issue that may affect their health.

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