WHO recently revealed that breastfeeding reduces infant mortality and provides numerous lifelong health advantages.
According to the Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, it is important for mothers with COVID-19 to continue to breastfeed their babies, because that will not affect the baby in any way and he or she will keep growing normally.
He added that mothers and their infants should be helped to remain together while rooming-in throughout the day and night and to practice skin-to-skin contact.
His words, “Breastfeeding mothers can breastfeed their babies even if they are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.”
“As we have seen again and again, standard public health measures are often the most effective and we are reiterating the importance of breastfeeding, which has lifesaving benefits for babies and families.
“At the time of COVID-19, especially when there is disruption to health services, WHO recommends that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged, the same as all other mothers, to initiate or continue to breastfeed.
“Mothers should be counselled that the many benefits of breastfeeding for newborn babies and children substantially outweigh the potential risks for COVID-19 infection.
“Mother and infant should be helped to remain together while rooming-in throughout the day and night and to practise skin-to-skin contact.
“They should remain together to practice skin-to-skin contact including kangaroo mothercare, especially immediately after birth and during establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.”
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Coronaviruses are a group of related viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that can be mild, such as some cases of the common cold (among other possible causes, predominantly rhinoviruses), and others that can be lethal, such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Symptoms in other species vary: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory tract disease, while in cows and pigs they cause diarrhea. There are yet to be vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.
Coronaviruses constitute the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae, in the family Coronaviridae, order Nidovirales, and realm Riboviria. They are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genome size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 27 to 34 kilobases, the largest among known RNA viruses. The name coronavirus is derived from the Latin corona, meaning “crown” or “halo”, which refers to the characteristic appearance reminiscent of a crown or a solar corona around the virions (virus particles) when viewed under two-dimensional transmission electron microscopy, due to the surface covering in club-shaped protein spikes.
Human coronaviruses were first discovered in the late 1960s. The earliest ones discovered were an infectious bronchitis virus in chickens and two in human patients with the common cold (later named human coronavirus 229E and human coronavirus OC43). Other members of this family have since been identified, including SARS-CoV in 2003, HCoV NL63 in 2004, HKU1 in 2005, MERS-CoV in 2012, and SARS-CoV-2 (formerly known as 2019-nCoV) in 2019. Most of these have involved serious respiratory tract infections.
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