The second wave of Covid19 has been ravaging the country. While the number of cases has dropped over the last few days, Government and health experts have warned about the third wave of Covid which might hit soon. It is claimed that the third wave of coronavirus will cause a major impact on children. It has been advised to build strong immunity and protect yourself in this battle. Health experts have said that the third wave could be prevented if Covid-19 appropriate behavior is followed. It includes wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, getting vaccinated and others. However, the vaccination has process hasn't begun yet for small children. In this situation, many questions are being raised like- What are the symptoms of COVID-19 in children? Which test should be done? or Can a COVID-19 positive mother continue breastfeeding her child?
Dr Amin Kaba, Consultant Pediatrician, answered some important questions about Covid19 in children. He claims that while the number of cases can get really intimidating, children are still protected naturally against serious infections. Answering why the third wave can be more dangerous for children, he said, "Children have been at home for a year and half now. Their exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses, that they routinely were exposed to is almost non existent now. Also the Covid vaccines have yet to be approved for the pediatric age group. India has the youngest population in the world. Almost 40% of our population is below the age of 20 years. So we have a huge pool of immune naive population which will immediately come to be exposed to the virus once the lockdown eases. Add to that if the educational institutions are allowed to conduct physical classes, we may face terrifying numbers"
Symptoms of COVID-19 in children
- Children can present with fever
- Headache and body ache
- Pain in the abdomen
- Loose motions
To protect children from covid19 infection, social distancing, masking and sanitisation are the most important steps. Dr Amit Kaba says no medicine or treatment modality has been proved to prevent COVID-19 infection.
When should I test my child? Which tests should be done?
The test should be taken when the child demonstrates these symptoms for more than two to three days or a family member has similar symptoms as the child or someone in the family is diagnosed positive and the child develops symptoms. RT PCR or CBNAAT should be taken for Covid19. Do not do a CT scan or blood tests indiscriminately without a doctor's advice.
How do I know if my child is serious and rush to the hospital?
Parents need to monitor the child and be in touch with the doctor constantly. The reasons for an emergency visit would be
- high fever lasting for more than 4 to 5 days
- child unable to eat properly and very lethargic
- child not passing urine for more than 6 hours
- breathlessness in the child
- saturation dropping to less than 94 (remember the oximeters for home use may not pick up the saturation properly in small children).
What can I do at home for my sick child?
Monitor the child's temperature as and when needed and you can give Paracetamol every 4 to 6 hours depending on her weight. Plenty of oral fluids and good clean hygienic food. Make sure the child is hydrated. Avoid junk food. Monitor the saturation twice a day at least. Watch for the danger signs. Also, children above the age of 2 years can wear mask.
Can a COVID-19 positive mother continue breastfeeding her child?
Yes. She should continue breastfeeding while wearing a mask and shield if possible along with regular hand sanitisation and maintaining good hygiene.
NOTE: Covid positive children may require just Paracetamol. Vitamin C, vitamin D and Zinc for recovery. Self-medication is not advisable.