Doctors have pressed the panic button after new findings reveal that Omicron is affecting the children the most.
“It is important to know how Omicron is affecting the children. Many of them are now getting more severe diseases. Concern has always been there as the younger children are not vaccinated,” All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr. Randeep Guleria said during a Webinar.
Seven children, who had contracted coronavirus, died in Delhi in three days from January 9. Delhi government said they had chronic issues.
“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. So I think it is important to clarify, how is the current Omicron behaving as far as children are concerned,” Dr. Randeep Guleria said.
How Omicron affects children?
Omicron is clearly more contagious and against the values of R nought. Various groups have estimated it to be much higher than what was there for delta and for the original virus.
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, Dr. Rakesh Lodha, Head, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, AIIMS said.
“Children respond to the virus in a better way. In addition, if the lung gets involved, then the excellent regeneration capacity of the pediatric alveolar epitheliun would help in a more rapid and more complete recovery. And the absence of risk factors like various comorbidities that we see in adults and elderly like smoking and diabetes are obviously less seen in children. So all of these contribute to less severe disease in children,” Lodha said.
What are the symptoms in children?
Fever, sore throat, rhinorrhea, cough.
How should it be treated?
Home isolation, paracetamol 10-15mg/kg/dose, may repeat every 4-6 hours. Warm saline gargles in older children, adequate nutrition, and hydration.
Cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids, molnupiravir, fluvoxamine, sortrovimab, etc., are not indicated
When hospitalization is necessary
Difficulty in breathing, blue lips or face, chest pain, new confusion, inability to drink, not interacting when awake