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No Masks for Kids Under Five: What Are the Revised COVID-19 SOPs for Children?

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a revised COVID-19 advisory for children.

Updated
F.A.Q
2 min read
No Masks for Kids Under Five: What Are the Revised COVID-19 SOPs for Children?
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Wearing of masks is not recommended for children aged 5 years or below, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in its revised COVID-19 guidelines on Thursday, 20 January.

Are masks required? What are the treatment measures? How to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour? Here is what we know from the revised advisory:

Who should wear masks and who should not?

Children aged:

  • Kids aged five years or less should not wear masks.

  • Kids of 6-11 years may wear a mask under the direct supervision of parents/guardians.

  • Those aged 12 years and above should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults.

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What are the common symptoms of COVID-19 in children?

The following are the common symptoms in children:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Headache/body ache

  • Weakness/malaise

  • Diarrhoea

  • Sore throat/throat irritation

  • Loss of smell/taste

  • Anorexia/vomiting/nausea

Only symptomatic treatment is recommended for children.

What are the suggested COVID-appropriate behaviours?

COVID-appropriate behaviours can be divided into "3Ws" and "2Vs".

3Ws:

  • Watch your distance (more than 2 metre)

  • Wear a mask

  • Wash your hands

2Vs:

  • Ventilation (open spaces less risky than closed)

  • Vaccination (from 15-18 years)

What are the post-COVID care measures for children with asymptomatic or mild cases?

Children with asymptomatic infection or mild disease should receive:

  • Routine childcare

  • Appropriate vaccination (if eligible)

  • Nutrition counselling

  • Psychological support

What are the post-COVID care measures for children with moderate to severe symptoms?

For children with moderate to severe COVID:

  • Parents/caregivers should be counselled regarding persistent/worsening respiratory difficulty.

  • They should be explained the indications for bringing the child back to the facility.

Children who develop any organ-specific dysfunction during their hospital stay or subsequently should receive appropriate care, as per the guidelines.

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Are there any treatment recommendations for children?

For children less than 18 years of age, usage of the following is not recommended irrespective of the severity of infection:

  • Antivirals

  • Monoclonal antibodies

What are the guidelines for antimicrobials?

Antimicrobials are recommended on the basis of severity.

• Asymptomatic and mild cases: Not recommended.

• Moderate and severe cases: Should not be prescribed unless there is clinical suspicion of a superadded infection.

• Septic shock: Empirical antimicrobials (according to body weight) are frequently added.

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