COVID19 Third Wave & Children’s
As the country slowly opens up and the curfew is eased, we must not forget that a pandemic still looms around us. Vaccinations for those under the age of 18 have not yet been approved and the parents are concerned about their children’s safety. Here’s everything you need to know about Covid 19 and children, including precautions, treatments a side effect.
When it comes to safety measures children needs to take the same precautions as adults. Masking up, hand washing and social distancing are must when outside. Though children may be safe at home, they may contract the infection from adults who need to leave their homes from time to time. Parents need to make sure that they wash their hands and face (or better, still have bath) and change clothes when they return home and tend to their children.
Another course of action would be the flu vaccine which has been recommended by experts in anticipation of the third wave to reduce the overall burden of respiratory illnesses amongst children. It will protect children from seasonal flu but not necessarily from COVID. The covid specific protection provided by the flu vaccine (if any) is minimal.
If a child does show symptoms of the virus such as cough, fever, trouble breathing, sore throat, nausea, loss of taste or smell, muscle aches, etc then getting tested would be the best option followed by a consultation on the recommendation of the child’s pediatrician. Covid testing can be done at any age even on new born babies. The RT-PCR is currently the most reliable test. On the off chance that a child does test positive, he or she may be isolated within the home especially with a parent or a caretaker who may also be positive. Even then there is no reason to panic as children tend to have much milder symptoms compared to adults. Sometimes they are completely asymptomatic.
The treatment of children is largely supportive. Adequate hydration and good nutrition are essential besides treatment of symptoms. At present, antivirals and other drugs (typically used in adults with COVID) are not routinely recommended in children.
In terms of recovery children usually make a complete recovery from Covid and do not generally have any major post-infectious problems. Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a very rare disorder seen in less than 0.1 percent of Covid affected children about 1-2 months post infection. It tends to give rise to high fever and can make children quite sick, though with proper treatment the recovery is good.
The actual disease burden of Covid in children has been fairly low in India. The country has been gearing up to face the potential third wave. While there’s no need to be alarmed, it’s always best to be prudent and take necessary precautions.