By Rachel V Thomas
New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) In what should worry Indian parents the most, an increasing number of children are now being infected with Covid-19 along with serious symptoms in the ongoing lethal second wave. The city-based doctors on Thursday urged parents not to take their kids out and expose them to the virus.
Earlier, the novel coronavirus showed very mild or no effect in children. However, in its second run, the virus is turning out to be much severe for both children as well as adults under 45.
“Lots of new cases of Covid-19 infections in children are coming in this second wave and the numbers are much, much higher than they were earlier,” Dr Krishan Chugh, Director and head of the department of paediatrics at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, told IANS.
In most children who are affected by Covid-19, the symptoms present are mild fever, cough, cold and abdominal issues. Some are even complaining of body pain, headache, diarrhoea and vomiting.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), in an October 2020 document, reported that Covid-19 is much less frequent in children than in adults. Children and adolescents represented about 8 per cent of reported cases (and 29 per cent of the global population).
But in the second wave, “all age group of children, even below 1 year, are getting affected”, Dr Sarita Sharma, Senior Consultant Pediatrician at PSRI Hospital Saket, told IANS.
“With the new wave of Covid, children are more symptomatic,” Sharma added.
The situation is far different from last year for the children.
“More kids are now being affected with high fever up to 103-104 degrees Celsius, which is persistent for 5-6 days,” Dr Dhiren Gupta, senior consultant paediatrician at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi told IANS.
“There are few cases that have escalated to pneumonia, and required oxygen and other respiratory support,” Chugh said.
According to Dr Gupta, the saving grace is that compared to adults, the rate of pneumonia in kids is less.
Some kids are also reporting more severe complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) — a rare inflammatory condition with persistent fever. It generally occurs 2-4 weeks after the onset of Covid.
The experts said that mild symptoms in children should not be ignored, and parents must look out for symptoms such as diarrheoa, breathing problems and lethargy, particularly after fever, said Chugh.
Parents must be careful in recognising such problems in kids, as early intervention would help in better outcome.
“If the fever persists for 5-6 days, parents must monitor the blood pressure of their kids. However, there is no need for checking their oxygen levels with pulse oximeters, as they are highly unlikely to face oxygen saturation. The devices are unfit for kids,” Gupta informed.
While vaccines for kids are still under trial and may take months before it can be tested and proved beneficial for kids, the only remedy is to wear masks, maintain hand hygiene and social distancing.
“Do not take your kids out and expose them to the virus. Avoid every possible reason for infections, even via you,” Chugh advised.
(Rachel V Thomas can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Rachel V Thomas