Does Your Child Have COVID-19? Know What To Do

More children are contracting the novel coronavirus in the second wave, which was not the case during the first wave of COVID-19. In the fresh surge, a large number of cases are being reported in the age group of 1 to 8 years.

Why is this happening?

Experts say the double mutant coronavirus variant alongside a cocktail of other strains has a higher tendency to infect children. Children getting infected from members of the family who go outside and are lax in maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviour are also part of the spread seen during the second wave.

The double mutant variant has immune escape phenomena. It masquerades as our own body system and then escapes our immunity protection. This is why more children are contracting COVID-19.

Children were getting infected by COVID-19 in the first wave as well, but most cases were asymptomatic. But now, kids are coming to hospitals with MISC (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children). This time it is parallel to an active infection.

What are the symptoms among children?

Besides symptoms of the respiratory system, the other most common symptoms observed in children include high fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough, loss of smell, sore throat, myalgias, and mucocutaneous inflammatory signs, etc. More COVID-19 positive children are also showing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Case reports are now emerging from several countries saying that COVID-19 may even lead to episodes of pancreatitis and decompensated liver disease, although these are based on the clinical experience of a few cases.

Warning signs such as elevation of inflammatory markers, fast breathing, lethargy and seizures should be monitored by parents for early detection of COVID-19 in children.

What should be done when a child tests COVID-19 positive? What precautions should be taken?

Experts say children showing mild symptoms should be home quarantined for 14 days. “If symptoms are mild and oxygen saturation is greater than 94 per cent, supportive care, adequate hydration, proper nutrition and paracetamol should be given.” If CRP (C-reactive protein) and ferritin (blood protein that contains iron) levels are elevated, then children must be admitted to a hospital.

In the absence of any definitive therapy, social distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing are still the gold standard in the prevention of disease among this age group.

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