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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Early symptoms of Covid-19 in children: What parents should know

Common symptoms seen in children are fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, myalgia, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of smell, loss of taste, gastrointestinal symptoms.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi |
June 23, 2021 6:13:57 pm
symptoms of Covid-19 in children, Covid-19, pandemic, child care, covid19 precautions for kids, covid19 precautions for child, kids care, Covid19 symptoms in kids, Covid19 symptoms in childrenThe risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 is extremely low in children. (Source: Canva)

By Dr Suresh Birajdar

Do you have children at home? Are you worried about them contracting Covid? Then, we tell you how to identify the Covid symptoms and help your children get prompt treatment.

The coronavirus pandemic has been continuing to add more cases in India. Now, 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.

Be aware of these symptoms in children

The majority of children with Covid 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.

More acute Covid signs are gastroenteritis symptoms like ulcers in the oral cavity and the inability to swallow and eat food. Nowadays, many children have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS), a rare complication seen in children and adults infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus leading to Covid-19 infection. Those children infected with the virus encounter symptoms of MIS within a few days or weeks after getting sick. MIS causes problems in different parts of one’s body like the heart, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or brain.

Moreover, these organs get inflamed too. The symptoms of this complication are fever, low blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhoea, neck pain, rash, or feeling fatigued and the red flags of this syndrome are abdominal pain, breathing problems, inability to walk, or bluish face. Once you notice the symptoms in your child then seek immediate medical attention.

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

  • Children are becoming vulnerable to Covid 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.

With the above measures, Covid infection in children can be prevented. In those children acquiring Covid infections, seek immediate help of your paediatrician by either visiting the clinic or hospital or through teleconsultation.

(The writer is Neonatologist & Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar)

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