SRINAGAR — Though remaining relatively unaffected during the first wave of COVID-19 last year, an increased number of children and adolescents are getting infected by the virus in the ongoing second wave.
Though mostly with mild symptoms, a large number of COVID-19 cases in children above 10 years and also between 1-8 years are being reported in the fresh surge.
Dr Suhail Ahmad Naik, President of Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), said there were only a few cases, mostly asymptomatic, reported in the first wave. However, the second wave of COVID-19 has come with different aggression — high rate of transmission, changed spectrum of illness — impacting kids significantly.
Naik said that as schools are closed, kids usually contract the infection from adults who go out and do not follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
“In the second wave, we have witnessed cases of bilateral pneumonia and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) which were not in the first wave,” he said.
Naik said that there is no vaccine and drugs for children as of now, so extra care must be taken.
Paediatrician Dr Showkat Shifa, Assistant Professor at Government Medical College (GMC) Anantnag, said as fresh cases of infection increased in general, those of children have also increased.
“In the first wave, the percentage of children in positive cases was 4.2 which is now 5.8 per cent,” Shifa said.
However, Shifa said, there is no need to panic as 99 per cent of positive children will recover at home and the rest one per cent may need hospitalisation.
“Proper nutrition is essential for all. A positive mother can feed her baby while following precautions,” he said.
Shifa said in case a parent is tested positive, it is the “most dangerous” thing to send the children to live with someone else.
“Keep in mind your children would already be harbouring the virus even though they have no symptoms, and can innocently pass on the infection to the elders you have sent them to. Hence, it would be wiser to keep them in your home along with you, quarantined for 14 days,” he said.
He said that in case a child tests positive for COVID-19, there is no need to rush them to the hospital and have them admitted. “They can be monitored at home.”
“Children are potential sources of virus and adults, especially elderly people with ailments, must handle children meticulously while following precautions as they can contract the virus from children unknowingly which can later prove fatal for adults,” Shifa said. (KNO)