As the second wave of Covid-19 batters India, apprehensions of how it affects children are on the rise.
To get a better perspective about how COVID-19 affects children and how likely they are to get infected with the virus, India Ahead’s Sandhya Ravishankar spoke to renowned Paediatrician and Neonatologist Dr. Rohit K. Bharadwaj about the second wave and its impact on children.
Increase in infection in children
As compared to the previous year, a considerable number of children are getting infected with COVID-19 in the second wave. Children aged between one month to 10 years are testing positive. This might be because children are more likely to touch surfaces and objects without second thoughts. Even if kids are not affected by the virus, they tend to infect others with it. The concerning bit is that COVID-19 symptoms in children are varied.
Testing an infant for the virus
There are two conditions where an infant can contract the virus. An infant can either develop fever or cough or both in their body. Another way to contract it is if someone from the infant’s family tests positive for COVID-19. In both cases, the infant should get tested to check for the infection.
Unusual symptoms seen in children
In some cases, symptoms in this age group have turned out to be different. These are:
Children tend to cry incessantly. In some cases, bowel problems are evident. Some may even develop seizures. Joint pains seem to be the case too for many.
Mistakes parents make while diagnosing COVID-19
Irrespective of how educated one is, in most cases, people don’t keep a thermometer at home. In case they have one, they don’t understand the importance of using it often. There is a notion among parents to not visit a hospital even after a persistent fever for more than 3-4 days. Corrective measures must be taken early on. People are hesitant to share their symptoms because they still consider COVID-19 a taboo. The thumb rule however is to be transparent about your symptoms for clarity.
Steps to take if your child shows symptoms of COVID-19
If you suspect your child is displaying symptoms, then remember the following: Early diagnosis is the key to fighting the infection promptly. Don’t delay the visit to the doctor. The severity of the illness can vary, hence don’t depend on voice or video calls with your doctor. Visiting a doctor physically will always help.
Children can be super-spreaders
Yes, they can pass on the infection to others, including other family members and other kids. Children have the tendency of spreading the infection to more people. Hence, it becomes imperative for people who have come in close contact with an infected child to get tested.
Vaccination for children
To be able to start vaccinating children, the vaccines have to go through extensive research. The most important aspect of research on children is the fact that you don’t want to cause any damage to kids. The effectiveness of vaccines on children is still not certain so one should wait.
Trials are on for children above the age of 16. It is likely that India will start vaccinating children soon.