A SOUTHAMPTON intensive care nurse has created a book to help tackle anxiety in children amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The free online publication, entitled Dave the Dog is worried about coronavirus, has already been downloaded 15,000 times and used in schools and nurseries prior to their closures.

The book was written by Molly Watts, a staff nurse on the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Southampton Children’s Hospital, who penned it after a nightshift last week.

Molly, who has worked on PICU for the past five years, said: “I have always written and drawn little stories and poems for my patients in PICU when I can and I was preparing to self-publish some books when the coronavirus outbreak began to intensify.

“With everyone talking and worrying about what is going on I kept thinking about the impact this must be having on children.

“Last week when the government started releasing more advice on isolating I thought maybe I should try to write something for children to help them at this time.”

Molly, who has other titles set for release under her newly-established Nurse Dotty Books range, said her intention was to provide “information without fear” that was factual and child-friendly.

She added: “I’ve had lots of people tell me that their children were really anxious and didn’t understand what exactly was going on but that reading the story had helped them feel better.

“That sort of response is so lovely and positive and the fact it has been so well received is incredible - I am just pleased I could help in another way.”

To download the book and to find out about Molly’s other upcoming titles visit nursedottybooks.com.

It comes as Southampton Hospitals Charity launched a campaign to support NHS staff working around the clock to look after patients during the outbreak.

The appeal launched by the hospital charity aims to raise money to support the mental health and wellbeing of the frontline NHS staff who are caring for COVID-19 patients.

As well as this, newspapers across the country - including the Daily Echo - published the same front page to support residents and to pledge to shine a light on the heroes in this hour of need.

To donate visit www.southamptonhospitalscharity.org/NHSheroes or text NHSHEROES 3 to 70460 to donate £3; NHSHEROES 5 to 70460 to donate £5; NHSHEROES 10 to 70460 to donate £10.