The one silver lining that experts caught on to earlier on in the pandemic was that it did not affect children like it did adults.
Younger people were less likely to get seriously ill and most children either showed very mild symptoms, or were completely asymptomatic—though they could still be carriers.
But this time around that comfort of 'at least our kids are safe' no longer seems to apply as it did before.
As cases started mounting in the end of March and 'second wave' was officially declared, it also became clear very quickly that this time COVID was hitting kids much much more.
Should Parents be Worried?
Dr Nihar Parekh, Paediatrician, Cheers Child Care, Mumbai, tells parents what they should know about the second wave, how its affecting children, and what care they can take to protect their kids from adverse illness.
"Kids Are Now Symptomatic."
“Initially, in the first wave, kids were less or near zero symptomatic. (They) were carriers, were infecting the elders, but were not themselves getting too infected. Now the scenario has changed.”Dr Nihar Parekh, Paediatrician, Cheers Child Care, Mumbai
He goes on to list the most common symptoms that are manifesting in kids, which include,
High fever (lasting 2-3 days)
sometimes loose motions
These symptoms are also seen in the case of typical viral infections and can easily be mistaken as just another passing infection.
For this reason, Dr Parekh warns parents against underestimating these symptoms and dismissing them.
Here's the Good News:
“This entire picture of a pan-systemic virus is typical of covid, but the good news is that they (kids) are responding to treatment, and regular medication.”Dr Nihar Parekh, Paediatrician, Cheers Child Care, Mumbai
"They are recovering very fast," he adds. He also talks about how the symptoms haven't been escalating to give rise to other complications in children like in the case of adults.
"We haven't seen kids under the age of 12 and 13 getting lung scarring, fibrosis, and other issues of the airways that we see in adults. We don't reach that point," he says.
” In our experience over the last month, none of them have required admission, none of them have required intensive care, and none of them have needed even a CT scan.”Dr Nihar Parekh, Paediatrician, Cheers Child Care, Mumbai
Be Cautious, But Don't Panic
Dr parekh goes on to give some very important tips and guidelines for concerned parents to ensure their children are protected.
If your child has a fever:
Keep them indoors, keep them isolated, give them fever medication for 2 days, and talk to your doctor immediately.
If the fever crosses 48 hours, get blood works done so the extent of the infection can be determined.
"These blood tests will give us a good clue whether it is covid and whether it is affecting the body to a level where we need to take extra measures."
Decide beforehand on who will be the primary caregiver
Dr Parekh recommends that it be one of the parents who is less than 45 years of age, or one who's already been vaccinated.
"Make sure you wear a mask at all times, and by no means should you be lingering around their room trying to take care of them, keep away from them as much as possible," he asserts.
'Let's Be Extra Cautious.'
Dr Parekh emphasises on the importance of precaution and prevention in the next few days when we are said to hit the peak of the second wave.
“Keep them indoors for the next 10 days, stop all gathering, keep them safe. The second wave is peaking and it's only a question of a couple of weeks. Let's be extra extra cautious.”Dr Nihar Parekh, Paediatrician, Cheers Child Care, Mumbai
"Let's be more proactive this time," he adds. "Follow social distancing norms, hygiene norms, and keep talking to your doctor."