An advocate for children’s safety issues and current champion of Voice of the kids, Dr Surajit Khanna, shed light on children who are at risk of COVID-19, including the symptoms and how to protect them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has started infecting a group that previously it seems the virus had ignored. Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome is a condition that has afflicted 120+ Children in New York. By all accounts that number will continue to grow. It has afflicted so many children that on May 6th the New York State Department of Health sent out a Health Advisory to all Hospitals.
The advisory detailed the signs and symptoms of the syndrome (persistent fever, inflammation, rashes, red eyes, etc.) many of which it shares with Kawasaki Disease (childhood disease). The advisory also advises pediatricians/clinicians who recognize the symptoms to immediately refer the patient to critical care (hospital). The majority of children who present with the syndrome have tested positive for either COVID-19 or antibodies associated with COVID-19.
Moreover, children with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of illness of COVID-19 and tend to show severe complications. These chronic medical conditions include immune suppression, cardiovascular disease, seizures, or chronic lung disease (asthma included).
Further, due to the lockdown in most countries, immunization of young children has stopped in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. Vaccines function by triggering the immune system to wade off bouts of certain disease and immunization is an effective way of protecting younger ones from this disease.
“with the postponement of this program, children are more susceptible to measles, whooping cough, mumps, chickenpox, including COVID-19. While countries are striving to combat the spread of COVID 19, they might have to deal with issues such as measles outbreak if care is not taken,” says Surajit Khanna.
What are the Symptoms of COVID-19 in Children?
Dr. Surajit Khanna says numerous reports suggest that the virus seems to have milder or asymptomatic symptoms in children than in adult. This means that countries need to get aggressive in children testing as they can have a major impact on the transmission of the virus. Some of the mild symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, and fever Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported.
How can Children be Protected from COVID-19?
Ensure your kids get all the vaccinations to strengthen their immune system. Children with underlying medical conditions stand at greater risk.
Separate kids from family members or older ones who are at higher risk of the severe illness of COVID-19. Avoid public places as much as possible and let kids stay at home.
Watch out for kids for any signs of illness, symptoms, or changes in behavior. If you notice any changes, call your healthcare provider immediately.
While we may not yet know when the pandemic will end, it is important that we do what we can to ensure that those among us who are at risk are well cared for says Surajit Khanna. We must all do our part to stop the spread; assist our at-risk population, and get tested should we or any one of our family members show any signs and symptoms of this disease and syndrome.