How to deal with 'long Covid-19' in kids

Children who have battled Covid-19 are coming back to hospitals with post-Covid 19 symptoms like persistent headaches, abdominal pain, gastric issues, heart palpitations, difficulty to sleep, etc

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Representative image
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IANS

Coronavirus has left a scar on our minds, and its impact is not only felt by adults but kids as well. The concept of 'long Covid 19' is not well defined yet, but there are several research papers that highlight the long-term effects of Covid-19 on various age groups.

Children who have battled Covid-19 are coming back to hospitals with post-Covid 19 symptoms like persistent headaches, fatigue, abdominal pain, gastric issues, heart palpitations, difficulty to sleep, muscle pain, loss of smell, and Tachycardia (increased heart rate). This symptom typically manifests after 2-4 weeks of the initial infection and may last for weeks to months.

IANSlife speaks to Kumar Salvi, Consultant Paediatrics and Neonatology, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, and Asmita Mahajan, Consultant Neonatology and Paediatrics, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, to know more about it:

RISK FACTORS FOR KIDS: Adolescents and teenagers may be prone to witness long Covid-19 symptoms. Moreover, children with higher BMI or Obesity are at higher risk of experiencing long Covid-19. Initially, we were under the impression that long Covid-19 can occur in kids having acute infections. However, that has changed over time, and we see a lot of children with asymptomatic and mild infection also experiencing long Covid-19. Having said that it is important to note, that kids experiencing such symptoms should be properly screened by medical experts, as many of these could be a result of mental health issues induced by the lockdown and pandemic.

There are studies that indicate that isolation and lockdown have resulted in mental health issues among kids, further resulting in headaches, fatigue, anger, misbehaviour, and similar issues. Parents and doctors need to ensure proper diagnosis of these health ailments.

MULTISYSTEM INFLAMMATORY SYNDROME (MIS-C) A CAUSE OF MANY SUCH LONG Covid-19 ISSUES IN KIDS: MIS-C in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. We know that many children with MIS-C had the Covid-19 virus or had been around someone with Covid-19. When a child's immune system reacts extensively to fight the virus in such cases, the immune system adopts in abnormal ways to fight the disease and that's when organs start to get inflamed causing MIS-C. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care.

SYMPTOMS OF MIS-C: Signs and symptoms of MIS-C in children include:

* High-grade fever that lasts 24 hours or longer

* Vomiting

* Diarrhoea

* Pain in the stomach

* Skin rash

* Feeling unusually tired

* Fast heartbeat

* Rapid breathing

* Red eyes

* Redness or swelling of the lips and tongue

* Redness or swelling of the hands or feet

* Headache, dizziness, or light-headedness


DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF MIS-C: If MIS-C is suspected, a diagnostic or antibody test for Covid-19 can help confirm current or past infection with the virus, which aids in diagnosis and treatment.

TESTS YOUR DOCTOR MAY PRESCRIBE, TO LOOK FOR INFLAMMATION OR OTHER SIGNS OF THE DISEASE, INCLUDE:

* CBC Blood tests

* C-reactive protein test

* Chest X-ray

* Heart ultrasound (echocardiogram)

* Abdominal ultrasound

Usually, supportive care for symptoms that is, medicine and/or fluids are given to make your child feel better, coupled with various medicines to treat inflammation. Most children who become ill with MIS-C will need to be treated in the hospital. To treat this condition normally, Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) to improve antibody content or steroids in appropriate dosages is given. All these medications are given, and the children are kept under observation. Some children may need to be treated in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) if they are severely ill.

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