With more are more children getting COVID in the current wave, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria pointed out it is important to know how Omicron is affecting the children. Noting that many of them are now getting more severe diseases, he asserted, “concern has always been there as the younger children are not vaccinated.”
“There is also been a lot of concern about the severity of illness in children in this current wave with some reports from hospitals in the US claiming that they are seeing an increased number of children being admitted. So I think it is important to clarify, how is the current Omicron behaving as far as children are concerned? The concern has always been there as the younger children are not vaccinated and they are really getting more severe diseases,” AIIMS, New Delhi, Director Dr Randeep Guleria said during a Webinar.
“It is important for us to understand that children are not like adults and we cannot translate what we are doing in adults to children.”
Meanwhile, noting that more data is required to identify the infection rate among children, he Dr Rakesh Lodha, Head, Professor, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, AIIMS. ‘there doesn’t seem to be a dramatic increase’
“Now what we see is that our children are more frequently affected. I think we need some data and I think that data is likely to be available soon. But apparently, there doesn’t seem to be a dramatic increase in the proportion the absolute numbers are likely to go up as the cumulative or the total number of cases increase in the country.”
Why are more children getting Omicron?
The Omicron is clearly more contagious and against the values of R nought, which kind of gives an idea about how contagious it is, how easily it can spread. Various groups have estimated it to be much higher than what was there for delta and for the original virus. It’s believed to be more than seven, some groups have estimated even to be close to 10 or more than 10. And in that scenario, it comes close to measles which is a highly contagious disease that we see children.
Are they severely affected?
They respond to the virus in a better way. In addition, if the lung gets involved, then the excellent regeneration capacity of the pediatric alveolar epitheliun would help in a more rapid and more complete recovery. And the absence of risk factors like various comorbidities that we see in adults and elderly like smoking and diabetes are obviously less seen in children. So all of these contribute to less severe disease in children.
Symptoms of Covid-19 in children and treatment according to guidelines
Mild symptoms: Fever, sore throat, rhinorrhea, cough.
Treatment: Home isolation, paracetamol 10-15mg/kg/dose, may repeat every 4-6 hours. Warm saline gargles in older children, adequate nutrition and hydration.
Cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids, molnupiravir, fluvoxamine, sortrovimab etc., are not indicated
Danger signs: Difficulty in breathing, blue ips or face, chest pain, new confusion, inability to drink or keep down any liquids, not interacting when awake
(With inputs from agencies)
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