Last Updated: 13th May, 2021
COVID-19 In Children: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic threatening today’s children? Let’s obtain a more distinct look into this. COVID-19 is already a catastrophe in our lives, particularly now that it is explicitly targeting children. COVID-19’s second wave has undoubtedly made children enjoy far rarer and concern for more.
We must all hope this will not be a “ghost generation” for them. Here are a few questions impacting children and COVID-19 that might have springs to mind.
COVID-19 Second Wave: Why More Children Getting Infected?
As compared to the first wave, more children are getting infected in the recent second wave of the pandemic. This increase can be attributed to the double mutated coronavirus variant along with other strains that are more contagious and display a more significant tendency to infect children.
However, fortunately, the severity of infection is mild in most children. This means they are either asymptomatic or do not have as many symptoms as adults do. In addition, the recovery rate in children is highest among all age groups.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of COVID-19 In Children?
Your child may experience:
- Runny nose
- Loose stools
- Stomach pain
- Muscle/body pain
- Redness of eyes
- Rashes over the body
- A headache
It may be challenging to find out whether fever is due to COVID or normal flu. Accordingly, whenever you observe any symptom in your child, speak to a doctor immediately.
What You Should Do If Your Child Display These Symptoms?
- Do not panic and render home-based care.
- Continue following personal protective measures for yourself and your child.
- Provide nutritious home-cooked meals to your child and stall them well hydrated.
- Encourage your child to remain active indoors to reduce psychological stress due to crises.
- Expose the child to sunlight for a minimum of 20 minutes daily.
- Measure their temperature every 6 hours utilizing a thermometer. If it is more than 100°F, sponging using lukewarm tap water can be done. Avoid cold water showers.
- Monitor your child’s oxygen saturation levels (SPO2) using a pulse oximeter. Call the doctor right away if the levels fall below 92%.
- Never self-medicate. Administer all medicines as prescribed by the doctor only. The dose of the medicine will depend on the child’s body weight, age, and clinical condition.
- Be watchful for danger signs in a child. If worrisome, seek medical help immediately.
When Should Your Child Be Tested For COVID-19?
- Test if your child is symptomatic.
- Test if the fever continues beyond 3 days.
- Test if family members are COVID positive only if your child is symptomatic. If not, then simply observe the child for symptoms till 14 days from contact.
When To Visit The Hospital If Your Child Tests COVID-19 Positive?
If the child develops:
- Fever more than 102°F (38.8°C) in babies up to 1 year of age.
- Fever more than 100°F (37.7°C) that persists for more than 3 days.
- Fast breathing.
At that point, visit nearby healthcare facilities at the earliest. To manage these symptoms:
- Continue following personal protective measures.
- Observe the child for danger signs.
- Give fever medicine in the dose as suggested by the doctor.
If the child develops these signs and symptoms:
- The child looks pale or blue
- Indrawing of the chest
- Numb arms/legs
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth
- No urine passed for more than 3-4 hours
- Refusing to feed
- Abnormal body movements
At that point, seek urgent medical help and rush to the nearest hospital. To manage these symptoms:
- Keep your child warm.
- Turn your child to the left side in case the child exhibits abnormal body movements or is drowsy.
What Specific Precautions Should Be Taken To Prevent COVID-19 In Children?
COVID-19 can impact children across all age groups, including infants and newborns. Since every child is at similar risk of developing COVID-19, you must:
- Ensure safe distancing (6 feet).
- Encourage and explain to them the importance of masks.
- Make sure they cleanse their hands frequently using soap and water or frequent sanitization.
- Guide children not to touch any surfaces outdoors.
- Bathe children and change their clothes when they come back home.
- Sanitize the frequently touched surfaces at home.
How Long Do Children Take To Develop The Symptoms Of COVID-19?
The time between exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and when symptoms appear is the same for adults and children. It habitually takes around 5 to 6 days or up to 14 days for the symptoms to appear. However, presently this duration has reduced to 2 to 3 days.
What Specific Precautions Should Be Taken To Protect Children With Comorbidities From COVID-19?
Precautions remain the same. Children at present having underlying medical conditions like heart problems (congenital heart disease), respiratory illness (asthma), metabolic diseases (diabetes), or complications like cerebral palsy (brain-muscle movement coordination disorder) need more care and should follow utmost precautions as these conditions may increase the severity of illness.
Your Child Is Having A Chronic Disease. Do You Continue His/Her Steroid Treatment/Other Treatment?
Most of the treatment of pre-existing diseases need not be altered unless your child contracts a severe disease. If your child suffers from any chronic disease and catches COVID-19, you must consult your doctor for specific advice about ongoing medications.
What Are The Psychological Effects Of COVID-19 On Children?
The unexpected social isolation due to the pandemic has caused enormous disruption of daily routines, especially for children. To deter the spread of the virus, most schools closed, canceled classes, and moved it to home-based or online learning to encourage and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
This abrupt change in the learning environment, increased screen time, and limited social interactions and activities pose an unusual situation for children’s developing brains. These also constitute a potential risk to the mental well-being of children.
How Parents Can Help Children Deal With The Stress During?
- Be your child’s best friend and answer all their queries.
- Stay calm, listen and offer reassurance.
- Talk about COVID-19 and explain COVID-19 appropriate behavior (hand washing, mask donning, and social distancing) to children. Keep reinforcing it from time to time.
- Stay connected to your child along with work from home schedule.
- Be aware of your child’s mental health.
Is It Safe To Give Routine Vaccinations To Children During The COVID-19 Pandemic?
Children should be vaccinated as per the Immunization schedule recommended by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP). Essential immunization is necessary as it prevents children from any other infection or disease and boosts the immune system. If need be, you may delay the booster shots of the vaccines.
In What Way Can Parents Help Medical Experts Treat Their Children In Stressful COVID-19 Situations?
- Obtain an appointment with the doctor before visiting.
- Adhere to the appointment slot timings. Make ‘Quick in’ and ‘out’ visits.
- Ask specific questions over video consultations. This helps use less time and expedite the visit.
Our dearest hope of surviving the pandemic is the COVID-19 vaccine. As we wait for a vaccine to secure children under the age of 18, let us secure the elders in our family vaccinated, and hope that children will eventually be able to have fun with their friends, travel with their families, and embrace their communities without anxiety.