COVID-19 in Children: Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

Juthika Baruah

How is the government preparing to handle the third wave of COVID-19 which is likely to have an impact on children more? Contracting COVID in children has created panic amongst the parents as studies said that the third wave would impact the children most.

The Directorate of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy has also formed an expert committee to guide the government in handling crises.

In Assam, too many children are contracting with COVID-19 but what is the government’s move to tackle the situation is a concern for most of the parents. As many as 30 children have been infected with the virus in Nagaon district while three children are admitted to Nemcare Hospital in Guwahati and 8 in Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

According to the renowned pediatrician, Dr. Mridupawan Saikia, the post-COVID-19 symptoms are most common in children here in Assam. “Most of the children who are admitted to the hospitals have post-COVID-19 symptoms like cough, fever, saturation etc. They should be taken extra care as they cannot express their complications. The government and hospitals should also be ready so that we can give immediate treatment to the children once they contracted with the disease,” Dr. Saikia said.

The doctor further stated that parents should also take extra care of them like feeding them with healthy foods, keeping their minds fresh and happy so they couldn’t be infected with the disease.

Children have been at the receiving end during the second wave. A massive vaccination drive started in India on January 16, 2021, but children and pregnant women are not listed to take the vaccination. Are you aware that many paediatric patients are getting infected in the same proportion when compared to adults? Children often don’t wear masks and fail to maintain social distance and thus may transmit the infection to others. Sometimes, the infection may happen in children, who may be asymptomatic and the symptoms go unnoticed.

In many patients, the infection is identified when one of the parents has an infection and they take the Covid test. Then, the child’s throat swab is taken, which turns out to be positive. Few children can get critically ill with Covid and may require hospital admission. Hence, it is the need of the hour to take care of children and safeguard them from the dreadful effects of Covid-19.

The majority of children with Covid-19 infection may remain asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. Common symptoms seen in children are fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, myalgia, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of smell, loss of taste, gastrointestinal symptoms like loose motions, nasal congestion, nausea, vomiting, headache, dry cough, body and muscle pain.

Here are some preventive measures to keep your children safe during the pandemic:

  • Children are becoming vulnerable to Covid-19 infection and they may continue to get infected during the third wave. It is important for children to understand carefully what their parents are saying. They should use a mask, hand sanitizer, and talk with other children or family members by maintaining a social distance of six feet. Avoid being around sick people and cover the mouth while coughing and sneezing.
  • All the family members should get vaccinated for Covid-19 so that if they are protected, they are unlikely to cause the infection to the children in the house.
  • When anyone in the family gets infected with Covid, the person secretes the virus in the respiratory system one or two days before turning symptomatic. Since the person remains in close contact with the child, the latter gets infected. By day 5, the child will also exhibit the Covid signs. So, the family members should isolate themselves from children.
  • Disinfect the frequently touched surfaces by children. Try to keep the house clean. Do not allow your children to touch elevator buttons.

Vaccine for Children

Earlier, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr. Randeep Guleria said that the children between the age of 2 to 17 years is expected to get the vaccine by September.

What Sero Surveys Say

Emphasising that sero surveys have pointed towards antibody production in children, Dr. Guleria says he does not have any reason to believe that children will be worst impacted.

“When children also come for trials, we see anti-bodies in them,” he said, suggesting that children in the country have been exposed to the infection and in spite of not being vaccinated, they would have acquired some amount of natural protection.

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