Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic in Children

Covid-19 Outbreak in Children & Kids

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to emerge, a more worrisome issue is advancing. The second wave of coronavirus is leading to yet another pandemic-like situation. Schools in India and other parts of the world began reopening. Reports are afloat that more and more kids are contracting the virus. Coronavirus risks in new-born babies are well established. The second wave of COVID-19 is unlike the first wave where children were relatively safe.

About 41,324 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Haryana between March 15 to April 11. And out of the total COVID-19 cases, 3445 were kids below 10 years. 60,684 children in Maharashtra caught COVID-19 between March 1 and April 4. 7327 kids in Karnataka tested positive for COVID-19 during the second wave.

Experts affirm that the COVID-19 virus has undergone a double mutation. The second wave is more infectious. Doctors treating COVID-19 patients nowadays are seeing kids developing obvious symptoms. They include gastroenteritis and prolonged fever.

What should I do if my child develops a fever?

I suggest you opt for the RT PCR test. Don’t delay your diagnosis out of fear or hesitation. Early diagnosis is the only way to early treatment and symptomatic recovery. If both the parents with COVID-19 have an asymptomatic kid, the child may not have to opt for any diagnostic test. But home quarantine for 14 days is mandatory.

My child had a fever 2 days ago. Now he is fine. Can he play with his friends?

We suggest you keep him away from the other kids. Get him tested for COVID-19. It’s good news if he tests negative on day 5. If you haven’t tested him for COVID-19, home quarantine is mandatory. Please note that children may be the silent carriers or super-spreaders of COVID-19. They tend to spread it to other kids and adults. Those exposed to the virus may develop serious symptoms in response to such unknown levels of infectivity.

My wife has tested positive for COVID-19. We have a 1-year old son and a 3-year old daughter. Should we shift them to their grandparents’ house?

It doesn’t sound like a safer alternative. Your kids may be already carrying the virus though they may be asymptomatic. They may unknowingly make their grandparents sick by infecting them with the virus. Keep them under home quarantine for 14 days. It’s best to isolate the patient in a separate room. You may maintain safe distances and keep yourself sanitized always. Other unaffected members may remain in the same house. However, make sure that you are following the sanitary and health guidelines given by your doctor.

What should I do if my child’s RT-PCR test is positive? Should I rush him to the hospital?

The answer is no. Consult your paediatrician. Monitor him at home under stiff observatory as directed by your doctor/paediatrician. Make sure that you regularly verify the red flags or danger signs. They are breathlessness, fever exceeding 5 days, poor oral intake and rashes.

If few members in a family are negative, do they need to be under quarantine?

Yes. 14 days home quarantine is compulsory for the whole family if any member of the family tests positive for COVID-19. If it’s inevitable for a member to go out, he or she should undergo the COVID-19 RT-PCR test on the 5th day following no symptoms. If the member tests negative, he or she may venture out. However, mask and sanitization protocols are necessary.

I have already suffered from COVID-19. Should I continue to wear a mask?

The answer is yes.

I have already taken two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Should I continue to wear a mask?

Yes. No vaccine offers 100% protection from a pandemic. They promise protection from the dreaded symptoms to a certain extent. Wear a mask and ask your family members and dear ones to continue wearing a mask irrespective of the number of doses taken.

Is there a COVID-19 vaccine for children?

No. At present, the government hasn’t approved a COVID-19 vaccine to administer in children.

The best way to ensure protection is to follow the guidelines below:

  1. S – Sanitize hands
  2. M – Mask always when out
  3. S – Social Distancing

Adults are the role models for children. Your kids will imitate what you do.

How likely is it for kids to develop the new COVID-19?

Everyone irrespective of age is likely to catch the virus that causes COVID-19. Nevertheless, kids are less likely to develop COVID-19. The risks of COVID-19 comorbidities are low in kids. Parents should be aware of the coronavirus risks in new-born babies. COVID-19 symptoms in babies may differ under various conditions. Various medical conditions that underlie may complicate the risks of COVID-19 in kids.

What are the medical conditions that make COVID-19 symptoms in kids more severe?

  1. Congenital heart disease
  2. Diabetes
  3. Asthma or chronic lung disease
  4. Genetic, neurologic, or metabolic conditions
  5. Sickle cell disease
  6. Immunosuppression caused by a weakened immune system because of previous medical conditions
  7. Obesity
  8. Complex medical history or medical complexity (Kids with multiple chronic conditions affecting various body parts)

How to recognize COVID-19 symptoms in babies?

COVID-19 is less severe in children. The situation may be different for babies. And babies may be as vulnerable as older adults to the COVID-19 infection. Most babies and toddlers with COVID-19 have mild symptoms similar to those in common cold and flu.

What are some of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 in babies and toddlers are:

  1. Downright changes in mood or behaviour. The changes may include sleeping more or less often, difficulties while feeding, or more frequent tantrums.
  2. Fever
  3. Upper respiratory tract infection, cough, runny nose, sneezes and sore throat
  4. Muscular pain with frequent crying, mood swings and trouble sleeping
  5. Digestive issues may be common. They may include stomach pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea
  6. Loss of smell
  7. Dry cough with mild pneumonia, rapid breathing and shortness of breaths

More severe symptoms in babies with COVID-19 may develop mostly in a week.

The symptoms may be as given below:

  1. Organ failure
  2. Signs of low levels of oxygen, blue lips or blue tongue, whitish fingernails and a rapid heart rate
  3. Low oxygen saturation of 92% or below
  4. Gasping with extreme shortness of breath complicating the symptoms

What are the COVID-19 child care guidelines?

Covid vaccine for kids is a priority today. At a juncture where the access to the vaccine for children may delay, parents should follow some guidelines. Children seemed asymptomatic until the second wave of COVID-19 began. New-born babies and babies under 1 year develop mild to slightly complex symptoms of COVID-19. The virus may leave their system quicker.

A few new-born babies with COVID-19 are likely to test negative by day 6. The end of the first week of the onset of the second week may mark some relief for kids with COVID-19. Some babies may develop severe symptoms. A few of them may require a ventilator for breathing.

  1. Most babies and kids with COVID-19 don’t develop severe symptoms to be rushed to the hospital. They may override the issues at home.
  2. If your kid develops symptoms, make sure that he or she is under quarantine.
  3. Keep them away from the other family members at least for 2-3 weeks.
  4. For those above 2 years, the mask should be made compulsory.
  5. Wash your hands every few minutes if you are exposing yourself frequently to the virulent environment.
  6. Have your kid also wash the hands regularly as prescribed by the doctor/paediatrician.

Some kids may develop a rare complication from COVID-19. It’s called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). It may complicate the symptoms affecting various parts of the body. Skin, eyes, kidneys, digestive tract, heart and brain are the main body parts MIS-C may affect. Your doctor may help you with the proper child care setting.

Consult the doctor immediately if you see the MIS-C symptoms mentioned below in your child:

  1. Swollen body parts
  2. Stomach pain
  3. Diarrhoea
  4. Rashes
  5. Chest pressure and pain
  6. Shortened breath
  7. Excessive sleepiness
  8. Bluish lips or face

Your child may be treated with the treatment techniques mentioned below:

  1. Medication to build the immune response and system
  2. Medication to better the respiratory health
  3. Ventilation (Based on severity)
  4. Oxygen therapy

You may consider pre-school covid risk assessment if any health centre is offering any such services. If any healthcare centre is offering early year covid risk assessment, go ahead and have your kid examined.

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