During the first two wave of Covid-19 pandemic, children were among the least affected groups. However, the caseload during the third wave indicates that children are increasingly getting infected in the third wave, which is considered to be driven by the Omicron variant.
Some experts believe that though Omicron remains the primary reason behind infection, other reasons like lowering the guard, complete state of unlocking, mass gatherings and lack of adherence have contributed to rising infections among lower age groups.
Dr Rakesh Lodha, Head, Professor, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at AIIMS in New Delhi reportedly said more children are getting infected with Covid because of Omicron, which remains a primary reason. He added that the surge of infections among children is not dramatic, and it is increasing in proportion to the number of cases, a report in Hindustan Times said.
Moreover, children have been protected against Covid as very few children have comorbidities. Children also tends to respond to the virus in a better way.
Omicron rapidly Multiplying
Omicron’s R-value has been at a record high at around 10 across the globe. In India, the government on January 5 said that the R-value was 2.69. R-value greater than one means that the number of cases is growing rapidly.
“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,” Dr Lodha said.
“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,” he added.
India on January 3 started vaccination for those between 15 and 18; and third dose for vulnerable section. As the kids below 15 are not yet eligible for vaccination, the fear of them being at risk of the new strain is growing with the spread of Omicron.
AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said that there is a lot concern over severity of Covid-19 among children. “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,” Randeep Guleria reportedly said.
In US, the hospitalisation among kids under the age of 5 years infected with Covid have soared in recent weeks to hit a new record.
All about symptoms, Treatment
The mild symptoms of Covid among children include fever, sore throat, rhinorrhea and cough. The moderate symptoms include fast breathing and Oxygen level between 90-94%. The danger signs are breathing difficulties, blue ips or face, chest pain, inability to drink or keep down any liquids and not interacting when awake.
The treatment for mild symptoms include home isolation, paracetamol 10-15mg/kg/dose (may repeat every 4-6 hours). Warm saline gargles in older children, adequate nutrition and hydration.
For moderate and danger signs, it is advisable to admit in a dedicated Covid facility.
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