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The Covid-19 pandemic has left an indelible scar on our minds, and its impact is not only felt by adults but kids as well. Of those from various age groups who have gone through a bout of the virus, some have complained about facing long-term effects of Covid which is being dubbed as ‘long Covid’. Children who have battled the virus are also coming back to hospitals with post-Covid symptoms like persistent headaches, fatigue, abdominal pain, gastric issues, heart palpitations, difficulty to sleep, muscle pain, loss of smell, and even Tachycardia (increased heart rate). This is leaving parents worried about how to deal with the children.
Dr Kumar Salvi, Consultant Paediatrics & Neonatology, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, and Dr Asmita Mahajan, Consultant Neonatology & Paediatrics, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, share some significant factors and symptoms to watch out for.
Adolescents and teenagers may be prone to witness long Covid symptoms. Moreover, children with higher BMI or obesity are at higher risk of experiencing long Covid. Initially, we were under the impression that long Covid can occur only in kids having acute infections. However, that has changed over time, and we see a lot of children with asymptomatic and mild infection also experiencing it. Having said that, it is important to note that kids experiencing such symptoms should be properly screened by medical experts, as many of these could be a result of mental health issues induced by the lockdown and pandemic.
There are studies that indicate that isolation and lockdown have resulted in mental health issues among kids, further resulting in headaches, fatigue, anger, misbehaviour, and similar issues. Parents and doctors need to ensure proper diagnosis of these health ailments.
This is a cause of many long Covid issues in kids. MIS-C in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed. These include the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Many children with MIS-C had the Covid virus or had been around someone with the virus. When a child’s immune system reacts extensively to fight the virus in such cases, the immune system adopts in abnormal ways to fight the disease and that’s when organs start to get inflamed, causing MIS-C.
MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children diagnosed with this condition have become better with medical care.
If MIS-C is suspected, a diagnostic or antibody test for Covid-19 can help confirm current or past infection with the virus, which aids in diagnosis and treatment.
Usually, supportive care for symptoms – medicine and/or fluids – are given to make your child feel better, to treat inflammation. Most children who become ill with MIS-C will need to be treated in the hospital. To treat this condition normally, Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) to improve antibody content or steroids in appropriate dosage is given. All these medications are given, and the children are kept under observation. Some children may need to be treated in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) if they are severely ill.
Above all, prevention is always better than cure. Vaccinate your kids with the flu vaccine to reduce the impact of any viral infection. More so, follow COVID-appropriate norms at home and outside. Ensure that your kids stay hygienic and maintain COVID19 norms.