Centre issues key guidelines for the management of COVID-19 among children
DGHS has recommended against using Remdesivir fortreatment of COVID-19 among children
The Centre on Wednesday issued a list of comprehensive guidelines for managing COVID-19 among children below the age of 18 years. This development has come amid fears of a third COVID-19 wave in India that is largely expected to impact children. Under the Union Health Ministry, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) released the guidelines to ensure appropriate care of children from COVID-19.
In the guidelines, the DGHS has recommended against using emergency drug Remdesivir for the treatment of children due to lack ofrelevant efficacy and safety data for those aged below 18.
At the same time, the authorities have advised against using steroids and self-medication in asymptomatic and mild cases of infection. “Steroids should be used at the right time, in right dose and for the right duration in critically ill COVID-19 cases under strict supervision,” the guidelines added.
The guidelines also state that antimicrobials are not recommended for therapy or prophylaxis among asymptomatic and mild cases. For moderate and severe cases, antimicrobials should not be prescribed unless there is clinical suspicion of a superadded infection. The government has approved the rational use of High-resolution CT (HRCT) imaging carried out by highly selective physicians. HRCT scan helps in better visualising the extent and nature of lung involvement inCOVID-19 patients.
Parents can give paracetamol 10-15mg/dose every 4-6 hours and aspirin 3-5mg/day to children in case of mild infection to control fever and soothe the throat. Meanwhile, warm saline gargles can be used forolder children and adolescents to cure cough
“Ensure oral fluids to maintain hydration and give a nutritious diet. No other COVID-19 specific medication needed,” the guidelines said.
Furthermore, children below the age of 5 are not required to wear a mask as per the DHGS guidelines.
It is important to regularly monitor the health status of children, including counting their respiratory rate 2-3 times a day, checking for bluish discolouration of body, cold extremities, oxygen saturation, and other activity levels among young children.
Meanwhile, amid the ongoing national vaccination efforts, Bharat Biotech has begun the trial for Covaxin among children aged between 2 and 18 at AIIMS Delhi and Patna. According to reports, if phase 2/3 trials show positive results among children, Covaxin would be used in vaccinating the age group of 2-18 years against COVID-19 in India.