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Sunday, May 31, 2020

What parents should know about COVID-19 symptoms in children

While there is no need for parents to press the panic button, they have to be careful at all times, says Dr Ingale. Sometimes children present myocarditis -- or an inflammation of the heart muscle -- and mimic Kawasaki-like disease, which starts with a fever.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 5, 2020 4:15:59 pm
covid-19 symptoms in children, what parents should know about children and coronavirus infection, health, parenting, indian express, indian express news In children it is usually a mild illness, and the recovery rate is also good, says Dr Ingale. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

The ongoing pandemic has caused a lot of stress around the world, mainly because it has been an unprecedented crisis, and scientists and doctors, too, are figuring it out. While people socially distance and isolate themselves, and remain in lockdown even, they await respite in the form of a vaccine. Among other things, parents worry about the health of their kids and insist they stay home at all times, so they do not contract the infection.

Lately, a new piece of information has become a cause of concern for parents. According to international news reports, a growing number of children are testing positive for coronavirus across Britain, and a nationwide alert has been sounded. In fact, the Paediatric Intensive Care Society in England sent out a statement saying that over the past three weeks, there has been a “rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK.” It expressed concern over a “SARS-CoV-2 related inflammatory syndrome emerging in children in the UK”.

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Strangely, the children who tested positive showed symptoms which were different from those presented by adults. Dr Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) told CNN News18 that while the children’s blood samples show results similar to those with serious covid illness, whether this is covid or not as seen in adults, is not certain.

Should this then worry parents closer home, and have there been such instances in India?

Dr Farah Ingale, a senior consultant (internal medicine) at the Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi (a Fortis Network Hospital), tells indianexpress.com that in India it has been mostly seen that in children it is not that common a problem and it is not that serious either. “Most of the children are asymptomatic, meaning they show no symptoms at all. In children it is usually a mild illness, and the recovery rate is also good,” she says, adding the common symptoms that they usually show is fever, cough, and mild body aches.

“Children hardly go on ventilator. Sometimes they show diarrhoea symptoms and nausea and vomiting, too, but that it also very rare — not as serious as adults. They do not have coexisting morbidity like diabetes, blood pressure or heart problems, either. Even adults have abdominal symptoms and gastric problems. It is, therefore, nothing atypical or different,” she says.

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Dr Ingale says while there is no need for parents to press the panic button, they have to be careful at all times. Sometimes children present myocarditis — or an inflammation of the heart muscle — and mimic Kawasaki-like disease, which starts with a fever.

“Children can contract the infection from parents or anybody else. They must be made to wash their hands with soap and water repeatedly; social distancing has to be maintained; their immunity needs to be strengthened, so parents must give them fruits; fluid intake has to be proper — all the things that we advise for adults, we advise for children as well,” she explains.

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