5 main questions about Omicron in children: doctors answer

5 main questions about Omicron in children: doctors answer

Categories: Catastrophes | Children | Health and Medicine | Healthy lifestyle | People | Science | Society | World

Why is Omicron dangerous for a child? What are the symptoms of the disease, how to treat Omicron in children, and how to avoid complications? Do children need a coronavirus vaccine? The response of pediatricians

A new wave of coronavirus has reached Ukraine. Every day in the country, an increase in cases is recorded at the level of 20-25 thousand people. Already two regions, Rivne and Ivano-Frankivsk, have returned to the red quarantine zone, and, apparently, the situation will only get worse in the near future. According to the Ministry of Health, the lion's share of cases in the country are due to the Omicron strain. It flows more easily than Delta, but children are much more likely to suffer from it. What are the symptoms of the disease in young patients, how to treat a child from Omicron, what post-covid complications do children have, and should they be vaccinated against coronavirus? We have found doctors' answers to these questions.

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5 main questions about Omicron in children: doctors answer

1. Why do children get sick with covid more often?

For the first time, an increase in the incidence of coronavirus among children was announced in the United States at the end of last year. Since then, the dynamics have been confirmed in many countries of the world. According to the Ministry of Health, among all cases of covid that have been recorded in Ukraine in recent days, about 7-12% are children. The number of children's hospitalizations has increased - today from 15 to 20% of all sick children are taken to hospitals. True, the hospitalization figures may be incorrect, because no one knows the exact number of cases of covid infection among children.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are only two main reasons that children have become more likely to become infected with the coronavirus. The first is the high contagiousness of the Omicron strain. It turned out to be more “volatile” than Delta, pediatrician Fedor Katasonov says in an interview for Forbes. It is able to infect premises and be transmitted through corridors. Therefore, airing and "spot" sanitation in schools, kindergartens, and other places of mass gathering of children are no longer effective.

The second reason is the lack of vaccination in children. Despite the fact that Omicron is able to bypass the immune defense that is developed for the coronavirus after vaccination, it “clings” most of all to the unvaccinated categories of the population. Taking into account the fact that they began to vaccinate children against covid relatively recently, and in most countries, children from the age of 12 are still massively vaccinated, children of preschool and primary school age automatically become the riskiest age group for infection with Omicron.

5 main questions about Omicron in children: doctors answer

2. What are the main symptoms of Omicron in children?

In most cases, Omicron is much easier in children than in adults. Fedor Katasonov says that the signs of the disease are often almost indistinguishable from the usual SARS. Therefore, it is rather difficult to diagnose coronavirus in children “by eye”, and only a few parents conduct testing on a sick child. According to the ZOE Covid Study, a UK-based COVID-19 symptom tracking app, the most common symptoms of Omicron in children are:

fever,
sore throat,
cough,
runny nose,
sneezing
 fatigue,
headache.
Also, quite often, Omicron is accompanied by a rash on the body, and intestinal disorders (diarrhea and vomiting) are possible. But the loss of smell and taste sensations are much less common than in previous versions of the coronavirus.

5 main questions about Omicron in children: doctors answer

3. How to treat a child from coronavirus?

The treatment regimen for a child from coronavirus is no different from the treatment of a common viral infection. If necessary, you need to remove the symptoms - bring down the temperature, relieve sore throat, rinse the nose and relieve the runny nose with vasoconstrictor drops. Most often, this is enough, and Omicron passes in a child in one and a half to two weeks. However, there are markers - red flags, in which you need to see a doctor. This is excessive intoxication of the body, lethargy, weakness, drowsiness, confusion - when the child is "just like a rag," lists Fedor Katasonov.

It is also worth paying attention to breathing problems - shortness of breath is considered a red flag. However, keep in mind that its intensity must be assessed at a time when the child has a normal body temperature. That is, first we lower the temperature, and then we determine how hard the child breathes. And by the way, the pulse oximeter in young children does not always show the correct value: due to the size of the fingers, saturation can only be determined approximately.

5 main questions about Omicron in children: doctors answer

4. Do children get post-COVID syndrome?

Omicron is characterized by the fact that it often causes post-covid syndrome in children. And this is its main danger: when it seems that the disease is behind, complications begin to appear. The most dangerous of these is a pediatric multisymptom syndrome (MIS-C). This is a complex inflammatory process that affects several body systems at once. At the same time, children suffer from lungs, heart, and kidneys, and sometimes inflammation of the brain and oxygen deficiency can develop. How to recognize MIS-C in a child in time, we wrote in detail here.

Fortunately, the multisymptom syndrome is a fairly rare complication. Much more often, children develop the so-called “long-covid”, when unpleasant symptoms persist for several months after the illness. A “long-term covid” in a child is characterized by: subfebrile body temperature (37.2-37.5 degrees), increased fatigue, lethargy and lethargy, headaches and muscle pain, sleep disturbances, and memory problems.

“Such ill children cannot study normally, cannot remember a simple poem, they run the risk of developing other diseases, such as diabetes,” said pediatrician Yevhen Komarovsky on the air of the Ukraine 24 channel.
Also, with long-term covid, visual impairment, problems in the work of the cardiovascular system (myocarditis), hormonal failure, and even mental disorders can develop. Doctors say that against the background of the transferred coronavirus in children, the level of anxiety rises - up to the point that panic attacks begin. Therefore, it is very important to carefully monitor the child and even if everything is fine, take tests three months after the illness, do an ultrasound and a cardiogram, and also visit a cardiologist and a neurologist.

5 main questions about Omicron in children: doctors answer

5. Does a child need a coronavirus vaccine?

Yevgeny Komarovsky says that the child needs to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Not so much because of the severe course of the disease, but because of possible complications. “I am not campaigning for vaccination, I am expressing my own opinion. Yes, children also get sick, they get sick easily, but long-term covid occurs in them, like in adults, ”the pediatrician emphasizes. In addition, children with coronavirus are an excellent springboard for further mutations of the virus, the expert is sure. This means that children can infect recovered and vaccinated adults.

Recall that Ukraine last year allowed the mass vaccination of adolescents. Now any child from 12 to 17 years old can get a vaccine against coronavirus with the consent of their parents or at their own request (if they have a passport). At the same time, more and more countries in the world allow vaccination against covid for children from 5 to 12 years old: vaccinations at this age can now be done in Israel, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Hungary. Moreover, in Israel, since the new year, they began testing the coronavirus vaccine on infants: three mini-doses of the vaccine are administered to children starting from the age of six months. For all age groups, only the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is allowed for the time being.

Keywords: Omicron | Children | Doctors | Health | Coronavirus | Vaccine | Disease | Illnesses | People's | Symptoms of the disease

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