The first wave of the coronavirus had many adults, mostly the older lot, affected. The second wave, even more deadly, had a lot of adults, the young and the old, fighting for oxygen. It was a testing time and the fear had settled in everyone’s heart. Experts say that there is a possibility of the third wave of coronavirus. And with the strong possibility that the virus will affect the younger generation, especially children, severely and with the vaccines not ready for them, it is surely a worrying situation.
To know more, TC46 connected with Dr Santosh Kumar K, Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore. Here he shares 6 points on the safety of children during the 3rd wave.
1. The third wave is more likely to affect children
The chances of a third wave appearing are high even though its timing could not be predicted. But according to the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), children are susceptible to the COVID-19 infection, and the third wave is suspected to predominantly affect children as they are the most vulnerable category and need extra protection.
2. Flu shots can protect the children against the virus
As per studies, children have a better immune response to Coronavirus than adults because of innate immunity. It recognizes a virus and it mounts a real quick and effective immune response that shuts down the virus even before it gets a chance to replicate. While vaccination is necessary, and kid’s COVID-19 vaccines are underway, doctors recommend getting immunized with the flu vaccine.
While the flu shot is very different from the COVID-19 vaccine and both these vaccines serve different purposes. Data showed that the flu vaccine may have a protective effect on the course of COVID-19 infection and symptoms in children. Children might develop severe infections if flu shots are not given especially during the monsoon season. Learn the importance of flu shots here.
3. Strict measures must be taken to keep infections at bay
As per doctors and researchers, the third wave could be avoided through “strong measures”. Local administrations, hospitals, healthcare facilities have begun to set up their infrastructure in anticipation of the third wave surge. The government administration should encourage the citizens to stay indoors and avoid having visitors at home. It is advised not to send kids outdoors to play as chances of contamination increase. Double masking has to be done while visiting crowded areas. We still need to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and take measures even after adults have taken the vaccine.
4. Steps to follow if your child has tested positive
When the child is tested positive, it is important to not panic and follow these steps:
- COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days is essential.
- Parents must keep monitoring the child’s oxygen saturation level.
- The parents need to check if the child is getting hydrated and consuming proper nutrition.
- If the condition deteriorates as there are no improvements in the child’s health, then they need to take the child to the hospital immediately.
Apart from the vaccines, there has been no trial on the paediatric population for the DRDO’s 2DG drug. Hence no assurance can be given. Before taking any medicine, it is advised to consult with a doctor.
5. Signs that your child needs to be hospitalized
Some of the COVID-19 signs observed in kids that can be alarming are:
- Symptoms of high fever
- Sore throat, congestion, or a runny nose
- Head and muscle ache
- Tiredness, nausea, or vomiting
- Coughing and trouble breathing
- A loss of taste or smell
Recently, there have been some cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in which kids have inflammation throughout their bodies. This can be seen after getting infected with the COVID-19. Doctors and researchers are yet to find how these symptoms are related to the coronavirus infection.
6. Points to remember to ensure your child is safe & healthy
- Diet and nutrition play an important role in the path of COVID-19 recovery. When a child is sick, parents need to make sure they are providing an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. One must especially include vitamin C as it boosts their immunity. For healthy, nutritious meals and diet tips, when recovering from COVID-19, click here.
- Staying hydrated is also an important factor. It is advised to keep consuming ORS solutions and other nutritional supplements can also be given post consultation with the paediatrician. The child must be completely cut off from junk food.
- Steaming is useful when there is congestion or cold in the upper respiratory tract. But it does not help with any condition of the lung or help treat an infection.
- A constant temperature and blood oxygen check are important to understand the symptoms. Signs like congestion, cough, fever, headache, and body pain need to be observed. While these could be confusing is that most of these symptoms could also strike up with the flu or viral infection, if these symptoms can be seen for more than 2 days, it is advised to get a COVID-19 test done.