Covid-19 among children: Fear of third wave, precautions and other concerns explained

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June 07, 2021 3:12 PM

Coronavirus has surely made it difficult for management of everyday routine with infants and children. The anxiety among people is now increasing as more cases of infection of Covid-19 in children have surfaced.

covid impact on childrenThe most common symptoms of the infection seen in children are fever, cough, nausea/vomiting or diarrhoea.

Coronavirus has surely made it difficult for management of everyday routine with infants and children. The anxiety among people is now increasing as more cases of infection of Covid-19 in children have surfaced. Until now, the infection rate among children has been low but the possibility of a third Covid-19 wave has instilled fear among people as it is likely to impact children more. Due to this, many people have multiple questions in regards to Covid-19 infection.

In a report by The IE, Dr Sheffali Gulati, who has been faculty at the AIIMS Department of Paediatrics, said that during the second wave, more families were infected with Covid-19 and as a result, the rise in cases among children were also seen. There have been many cases where the new mutations (B.1.167 variant) have affected younger children in a few countries like Singapore. The strain is considered as 60 per cent more fatal than the original strain. However, it is believed that children have better immunity and they might not have severe symptoms after the virus attacks.

However, children are susceptible to the viral infection just like adults are. They generally are asymptomatic or may have less impact. The reason for this lower expression of specific receptors which is used by the virus for binding and entering the human body. According to the report, a U-shaped curve of severity has been witnessed in children– infants below 1 year of age and adolescents between 10 and 14 years. They might be at a higher risk of developing the severe form of infection. In adolescents, there is also the risk of developing multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) after two-six weeks of Covid-19 infection.

The most common symptoms of the infection seen in children are fever, cough, nausea/vomiting or diarrhoea. According to Dr Gulati, in the majority of cases children experience mild to moderate disease, and those who develop a severe illness are not more than 4 per cent.

If any child is showing Covid-19 related symptoms even if it’s mild like fever, cough or pharyngitis, it can be managed at home except in cases where there are underlying health problems. However, there should be regular communication with the doctor. In cases of symptomatic patients, 10 days of isolation after symptom onset is needed along with 3 additional days without symptoms. Asymptomatic cases need to be isolated for 10 days after a positive test.

There have been many cases where a child has tested Covid-positive but parents are negative for the infection. In such cases, parents can continue taking care of the child while wearing proper masks, PPE, and gloves. Infected children should also be kept apart from their grandparents. If the scenario is reversed where parents are infected and the child is not, parents need to avoid hugging or touching the child and come up with ways to involve children like video calls.

In some cases, women who are pregnant are concerned whether they can transmit the infection to the baby. For this, there is not enough evidence as of now and is being investigated. To be sure, all pregnant women should take appropriate precautions, and seek medical care in care of symptoms like fever, cough or difficulty in breathing. For lactating mothers, the WHO has recommended to continue breastfeeding infants even if the mother is Covid-positive. There is no clear evidence that concludes transmission of Covid-19 via breastfeeding. Also, the risk of infection is low in infants and is typically mild or asymptomatic.

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