While a number of universities and schools across the US are planning to reopen with partial or full in-person classes in the coming days, the parents are fearful about their children, as they are thinking will our children be safe? There has been nearly a 90% increase in the number of coronavirus cases in children among the US in the last few weeks. According to pediatricians coronavirus symptoms in children are the same as they are in adults.
Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases said that already 90 children in the US have died of the virus in a few months, and it’s not fair to say that the virus is benign in children. He added that if you look at the long list of potential symptoms of covid19 including fever, cough, congestion, loss of taste and smell, and others they can all happen to both adults and children.
Other key coronavirus symptoms in children can include a rash, lack of energy, breathing difficulty, and problems that are keeping the child awake said Dr. Daniel Cohen a pediatrician practicing in New York. He further said that it’s very important to tell the doctor immediately if they are not getting up if they are sleeping all the time and getting exhausted and if they are not drinking or not eating which he said are the daily activities of living as a child.
Another one of worrisome coronavirus symptoms in children that can appear a few days after a child is exposed to the virus is a multisystem inflammatory syndrome which is a rare disease. So, what are the clues to this rare syndrome? The first clue to look out for is a persistent fever without any obvious reason, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Other signs include diarrhea, red or swollen feet and hands, rapid breathing, or other respiratory signs that are not as common but may be present, abdominal pain, swollen glands, and conjunctivitis which includes red lips and red or pinkish eyes.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) till the 6th of August confirmed 570 cases of MIS-C in the District of Columbia and across 40 states which included 10 deaths. The average age of those infected with this rare syndrome was 8 years and 70% of all cases of this syndrome were among Latino or Black children.
A pediatric cardiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital Dr. Kevin Friedman said that although there might be some aspects of the immune system that make some groups more vulnerable to MIS-C, the effect on people of color could also be due to parents doing jobs outside the home, higher rate of multifamily living conditions and higher rates of underlying health conditions.
Apart from the common symptoms of fever, the gastrointestinal symptoms are also most common among children with MIS-C and 80 – 90% of the children with MIS-C experience them, said Friedman. Children with MIS-C may show signs of shock and also get sick rapidly, according to the AAP. When they are examined, they show symptoms of high inflammatory blood levels of inflammation and multi-organ dysfunction. The majority of children with MIS-C need to be admitted to the hospital and some will need to be taken care of at the pediatric intensive care unit.
People can protect their children from MIS-C in the same way they can protect their children from coronavirus. This means that you make sure that you and your family are washing hands on a regular basis, wearing masks, and adhering to social distancing rules. The condition is very rare but is one more thing to keep an eye on as children go back to school.