Since 2019, not only adults but children are also suffering from novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). From serious inflammatory infections to various longing symptoms, children have not been spared by this disease. So let us know what we have learned so far about kids and children falling sick and how we can save our little ones from getting infected.
How are babies affected by COVID-19?
While most covid infections are found in adults, children can also get affected. The virus can cause a mild sickness in children or no symptoms at all. Kids and children are not comfortable wearing a mask for a long time, so it is essential to protect them differently.
Infants under 1 year old might remain at higher risk of getting affected by this infection. This may happen due to thinner airways and undeveloped immune systems that might lead to breathing problems. In addition, newborn babies can get virus-infected by sick doctors, nurses, and infected mothers immediately after delivery.
To avoid such issues wearing a face mask and cleaning hands regularly while taking care of a newborn is recommended. After childbirth, caregivers, mother, and family members are suggested to follow COVID-19 rules and keep a reasonable distance from the newborn if possible. These steps will lower down the risk of a newborn getting infected with the coronavirus. If anyone around the children is severely ill, you should request that person to stay at a distance from the infant. It is also suggested that pregnant women should take more precautions to avoid COVID-19.
Baby’s caregivers are recommended to sanitize their hands and wear a face mask to protect themselves and the baby. In addition, they need to do a continuous follow-up to know about the baby’s health by virtual visits or phone. Newborns that have tested negative for COVID-19 can be sent directly to the home.
How likely is it for a child to become sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Till March 2020, there was no such news of children getting affected by a coronavirus. However, after July 2020, it was observed that 8.4 % of children from the US, Washington DC, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam were affected by the viral infection. In October 2020, a report was made on children by ‘The American Academy of Pediatrics’. It was found that 11% of children were suffering from COVID-19, and among them, 4% reported kids had been hospitalized, and 0 – 0.6% resulted in deaths.
Children of all ages might get affected by this deadly virus from now onwards. 95% of cases revealed that COVID-19 symptoms in kids do not let them get sick as much as adults, and some kids might not get any symptoms or symptoms at all.
Research by the CDC study reveals that kids who are at a higher risk and need immediate medical attention in the hospital include:
- Children with chronic heart or lungs disease
- Premature children
- Kids under age 2
- Children affected by health disparities
If your child is suffering only with mild cough and fever, contact your family doctor or pediatrician for urgent care and follow their instructions regarding testing and isolation.
What are the common symptoms of COVID-19 in children?
Mostly, COVID-19 symptoms found in kids are milder than in adults. Some may get mild fever or cold-like symptoms, and some may take one to two weeks to recover.
1. Symptoms in normal children:
Symptoms of Covid in toddlers and children are found in a wide range that includes:
- Nasal congestion for running nose
- Sore throat
- Difficulty in breathing
- Body access
- Pain in stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of taste and smell
2. Symptoms in children with MIS-C conditions:
Doctors at pediatric hospitals of the UK and USA found out that children aged 2 to 15 may face a condition known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome or MIS-C. MIS-C in kids may develop severe symptoms that usually remain for a week or two but initially, they will experience a high fever of more than 100°F lasting for more than 24 to 48 hours with other symptoms that include:
- Severe shortness of breathing
- Pain in chest
- Trouble in sleep
- Low oxygen level
- Severe organ failure
- Pneumonia symptoms
- Neck pain
- Stomach pain
- Cracked lips
- Swollen hands, feet, and glands
- Organ failure (extreme cases)
3. Symtoms in children with Asthma:
Children having chronic asthma, dust allergies, or any respiratory disorder might face severe symptoms of COVID-19, including the flu. Of course, every child who has an asthmatic experience is not suffering from coronavirus. But it would help if you observed their symptoms. If you find any covid signs, then call a doctor for proper evaluation. Till then, keep your child away from others, refill all the medications and take extra care to stay away from severe symptoms and asthma attacks.
4. Symptoms in children with Diabetes:
Children having well-managed blood sugar levels are less expected to be infected by COVID-19. But those having poorly controlled diabetes possess a weak immune system. Therefore, parents of these children must carefully watch these symptoms for proper evaluation.
To treat these kids, you need to consult a doctor or admit them to the hospital as they need special care. Severe COVID-19 symptoms in kids can quickly get recovered by close monitoring.
If your kid has mild symptoms and can be treated at home, then keep your child away from others in a separate bedroom with an attached bathroom. Follow isolation and quarantine measures as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
When to test your child for Covid?
As a parent or guardian, it is your responsibility to protect your kids and children from this infectious disease. If you find any symptoms of Covid in toddlers or children, get them tested without any delay. This becomes important if someone from your family has exposure to school, institutions, jobs, or sports.
If your child had come in close contact with an infected person but did not get any symptoms of COVID-19, then you must wait for at least 4 to 5 days before getting tested. Close contact means your child must not have kept a distance of not less than 6′ and stayed at least 10 to 20 minutes or more with the person who has confirmed COVID-19 infection.
If you find any symptoms of COVID-19 in your child, then
- Get an Antigen or PCR test done as soon as possible to check the presence of COVID-19 infection.
- You, your kid, and other family members must remain at home until the test results are out.
- If you find negative results but have Covid symptoms, it might be common flu, which also needs to be treated.
- Covid testing for kids is also suggested for those children who have traveled outside the country or state or have any medical surgery.
Testing is not recommended for those children who remain indoors. But it is recommended if they have come in contact with an infected person or child or automatically develop COVID-19 symptoms.
What should you do if you child is infected by Covid?
COVID-19 illness symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu. While this illness can seem scary if it catches children, you must not worry if they have mild symptoms. This can be easily managed at home by following these simple steps.
- Firstly, separate the infected child from other family members to prevent the spreading of the virus.
- Take plenty of sleep and remain hydrated.
- Take a lot of good food rich in protein, fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
- The infected child should wear a protective face maskWash hands more often with water and soap for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
- Do not share dishes, glasses, cups, clothes, beddings, and towels of the infected child with others.
- Disinfect and clean all the rooms thoroughly, including the child’s room.
- Use tissue paper or a towel to cover coughs and sneezes, then wash them quickly with warm water and soap or trash them immediately into a trash can.
Following these rules and guidelines to treat a sick child will take less than 7 to 10 days for the symptoms to disappear. If you find no symptoms after 7 days, no fever after 3-5 days of medication, and no cough or cold after 5-7 days of COVID-19 illness, then make sure that your child is free from COVID-19.
What are some common symptoms of post Covid in children (MIS-C)?
The term “long COVID” is used for those experiencing symptoms after recovering from the infection. Children may experience these symptoms for at least 14 days or less in mild cases, while those suffering from MIS-C post covid take 10 to 12 weeks or even more time after infection.
The exact cause of post covid syndrome in children has not been determined yet, but lingering symptoms have been identified post-recovery, which are as follows:
- Pain In The Chest
- Nasal Congestion
- Breathing Issues
- Sore Throat
MIS-C in kids may cause these lingering symptoms and take a severe toll on their mental and physical health. So, here suggested some valuable tips for coping with coronavirus long-term effects. Perform early diagnosis, as delay may cause severe complications.
- Teach breathing exercises to your children and practice them for 30 minutes, if possible.
- Practice mild exercises, yoga, and stretching.
- Check oxygen saturation levels from time to time. Consult a pediatrician if your child faces any breathing issues.
- Give a nutritional diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Drink plenty of warm water, ORS solutions, glucose, food supplements with proper medication after consulting your doctor.
- Covid effects on kids like anxiety and stress are found more than adults as they go through extreme mood swings, health problems, and withdrawal signs. Support your child during this bad time with extreme love and care.
What to do after your child recovers?
Recovering from coronavirus disease usually takes around 7- 10 days for mild cases and 20-28 days for children having a severe infection. Still, it has a tremendous recovery rate above 98% in the case of kids.
If your kid has recovered from this infectious disease, then you would be happy to know that the virus is no longer present in the body. But you still need to take care of your child for the next few days.
COVID-19 is a nasty virus that creates a lot of damage once it attacks your body. Covid effect on kids increases from moderate to severe, and then it is evident that the virus has partly damaged your respiratory system. Even children with mild infections must remain alert during their post-covid stage as other health conditions that the COVID-19 infection might have triggered may arise. In addition, the body has become weak after battling the severe disease for so many days, so your child might feel weak and tired, which is quite natural.
That’s why even if your kid is covid-free, you still need to take care of your child to ensure that your kid is completely healed. Here are few instructions you need to follow after your child recovers from covid.
- Take a PCR test done to confirm that your child is covid-free
- Disinfect and clean your whole house.
- Most doctors suggest isolating your child for the next 7 days for complete recovery.
- Get enough sleep as resting helps in healing and recovering your body
- Take a nutritious diet as good food helps in the easy recovery. Make sure that your diet is full of protein, fibers, fruits, vegetables, calcium, hot milk, probably hot food every time, in a little portion for easy digestion.
- Exercising for at least 10-20 minutes a day helps your child for a speedy recovery. Doing yoga, stretching your body, performing meditation and simple workouts improve oxygen and blood circulation. It detoxifies your sick body and uplifts your mood
- Monitoring blood oxygen saturation levels at regular intervals to ensure that the oxygen levels are above 95. If it gets dropped under 90, then consult your doctor.
- Let your child play some memory games like crossword, sudoku, etc., to lose their irritation and boredom.
- Do not push your child to resume their previous lifestyle at once. Too much stress, study, and anxiety can make them ill.
Is there a covid-19 vaccine for kids?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already allowed the Pfizer-BioNTech covid vaccine for kids and children above 12 to 17 in the late 2020s. This vaccine is 100% effective in preventing coronavirus in children. Everyone is advised to get two doses of this vaccine given 21 to 42 days after the first dose. Clinical vaccine trials are going on for infants and children below 12 years.
In India, Covaxin clinical trials will start in the next couple of days for children aged 2 to 16 whereas, no information is available regarding Covishield trials. However, from recent news, it is found that the Andhra Pradesh government is gearing up to vaccinate all children under age 5 as a precautionary measure because predictions are being made that the third wave can affect children.
Similarly, clinical trials for Moderna-NIAID, Sputnik-V, Janssen, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm covid-19 vaccines are still under process for children below age 16. Covid-19 vaccines are found safe on adults, and also studies are going on for children. Once they are completed, guidelines will be made for vaccination for children.
How to protect your kids from coronavirus?
The only way to prevent children from getting infected with the coronavirus is to stop exposing them to outside. Meeting and living with infected people can make them sick.
Here are few most common ways to protect your kids from covid-19
- Maintaining social distancing. Ask your children to stay at least 6 feet away from outsiders.
- Wearing a protective mask that covers both mouth and nose, especially outside the home.
- Children must wash their hands immediately after coming indoors.
- Ask kids to dump their clothes immediately after coming from outdoors.
- Avoid indoor and outdoor spaces used mainly by the public, e.g., restaurants, shops, parks, sports rooms, libraries, etc.
- Avoid taking small babies to a crowded area as much as possible.
- Stop or limit visitors.
- Bring your child for vaccine visits.
- Make sure that your kids get other mandatory vaccinations for diseases like measles and flu.
The above article concluded that kids and children might get in contact and may spread the virus. However, symptoms are found milder in children than adults. Following rules and regulations can prevent the spread of coronavirus for kids. Be a good example for your child to follow you. Stay home, stay safe and stay patient.