Omicron Wave: How to Take Care of COVID Positive Newborns and Toddlers
The increasing COVID cases led by the Omicron wave has caused a lot of concern among parents of newborns and young children who are not vaccinated. Reports of increasing hospitalisations in this age group in countries like the US have also caused some panic.
As the data suggests, the Omicron variant may cause more 'mild' illness, but it is highly transmissible.
FIT speaks with pediatricians on what to do if your newborn and toddler has COVID-19.
So far, data on hospitalisation of children in the third wave of COVID-19 is not officially available in India.
However, compared to last time, the infection rate of children has increased, said Dr Dhiren Gupta, Senior Consultant, Pediatrics, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Symptoms of Omicron in Young Children
Dr Maninder Singh Dhaliwal, Associate Director, Pediatrics, Medanta Gurugram, says,
“Even if the mother of the newborn is infected with Omicron, the baby should be kept with the mother. The mother should breastfeed the baby while wearing a mask."Dr Maninder Singh Dhaliwal, Associate Director, Pediatrics, Medanta Gurugram
"About 80% of Omicron cases have reported cough and cold as primary symptoms, 10% reported high fever with chills, 10% vomiting, upset stomach and fatigue," adds Dr Dhaliwal.
Symptoms of Omicron most commonly found in children include:
Cough and cold
"Seizures can also be seen in children younger than 0-6 years with high fever, which can be life threatening. Sponge the child as soon as the fever goes above 102. Remember, don't use cold water while sponging the child in winter season."Dr Maninder Singh Dhaliwal, Associate Director, Pediatrics, Medanta Gurugram
How To Take Care of Omicron Infected Children?
If the child is COVID positive without any symptoms, then no treatment is required. Keep the child in isolation only for 7 days and also follow the COVID guidelines.
Consult your doctor via video as soon as you notice the symptoms in young children.
Follow these important tips:
Keep the child in isolation for 7 days (the adult caregiver should wear a mask at all times.)
Ensure medicine is given on time as prescribed
Keep them hydrated (water, juice, coconut water, ORS, soup)
Don't let the fever go above 102 degree celsius
Sponge when fever goes above 102
Keep a check on oxygen saturation
Do not overdress the child when they have fever
Keep the child in a ventilated room so that fresh air can circulate
In case of sore throat, gargle with salt water
Provide nutritious food
To see the oxygen levels of children in the 0-2 age group, the correct way is to check the pulse oximeter by putting it in the toe of the sleeping child.
How To Recognize Critical Signs?
Parents, do not panic but be alert. Take these situations seriously and contact a doctor immediately, if:
If the fever has not broken for 3 days
When the fever is more than 102
When the child is coughing a lot
When they are vomiting
When they are urinating less
Their breathing is impacted
When the child is sluggish
Oxygen saturation is below 95
Children suffering from serious diseases like cancer, thalassemia, diabetes, leukemia, HIV are more at risk and may require hospitalisation.
Omicron Infected Mother and Newborn Baby
“Medicines should be given only after consulting a doctor as both, the dosage of the medicine in newborn babies and the complications due to the disease require caution.Dr. Amit Gupta, Sr. Consultant, Pediatrics, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad told FIT
Symptoms of Omicron in newborns:
Drinking less milk
“If the mother is COVID infected, she should continue to breastfeed her baby while wearing a mask. The baby should be brought to the mother only for food and then they should be looked after by someone who is not infected. Newborns can only be infected by caregivers, so apart from the mother, people showing symptoms of COVID should stay away from children and wear masks."Dr Sanjay Wazir, Neonatologist and Pediatrician, Cloudnine Gurugram
"During the last wave, there were reports of pre-mature delivery among many pregnant women. It could happen this time also. Therefore it is important for pregnant women to protect themselves from any risks," advises Dr Sanjay Wazir.
In the last wave, weeks after COVID, some children were seen to have multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MISC) with fever, red eyes and heart problems. If you notice any of these symptoms post COVID, please contact your doctor without delay.
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