Covid-19 infection entraps children as young as 5 years in the current second wave
As current Covid-19 wave is causing sharp rise in cases across India, doctors are reporting children below 5 years as the new group coming in positive with the infection. Children in age group of 2-5 years are landing in hospitals as the Covid-19 cases surge is taking a toll on children too. Unlike the first wave of Covid-19 last year, this year infants as young as 1 and 1.5 are getting infected with the virus.
Dr Dhiren Gupta, Pediatric Intensivist at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, “The virus is spreading to the pediatric age group in the current surge. The number of children coming to the hospital with Covid-19 has increased five times as compared to last year. We even have a three-month-old infant admitted to the ICU with Covid-19 and pneumonia. While we are getting swamped with young children and teenagers, the most affected age group is between one to five years in this category.”
In children, the most common symptoms being presented are high fever, vomiting, diarrhea and headache.
In the fifth round of sero surveillance in Delhi, at least 50% of the children surveyed were found to have developed antibodies against Covid-19. The finding thus established that children are equally exposed to the coronavirus and are also developing adequate antibodies number in comparison to the adults. The survey had tested 1307 children over the age of 5 years and less than 12 years between January 15-23. The survey had tested 28,000 people in Delhi.
Dr A J Chitkara, director & HOD, pediatrics at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, said, “Since people were taking due precautions, the number was much less last year. This second surge is affecting many children, especially those younger than five years. This is also because the overall number of adults getting infected is more and somehow people have stopped following the Covid-appropriate behaviour. Fortunately, younger children do not suffer much, but it doesn’t mean they don’t suffer at all. If the child runs a high fever beyond three days, is irritable, refuses to eat, breathes heavily or gets severe abdominal pain or diarrhea, then the patient must contact a pediatrician at the earliest.”
The doctors have noted that the surge in Covid-19 cases is mainly attributed to laxity in COVID appropriate behavior among people. Though severity of cases in children is not high, experts say that adults in people must continue to follow all COVID related guidelines and protocols to ensure no one else in the family gets affected.