The second wave of coronavirus in India is much stronger than the first one, leading to widespread concern. The extent of the spread of COVID is no longer limited to a certain age group, affecting children and adults alike. While there are cases throughout the country, cities such as Mumbai alone have seen a 65% increase in COVID-19 positive reports in paediatric cases since the beginning of March.
This may sound like an alarm bell, but as per the data and research, most cases with children are mild when compared to others. They generally have better prognosis, milder symptoms and are asymptomatic. The major COVID-19 symptoms seen in children are:
- A runny nose and cough
- Difficulty in breathing
- Other symptoms related to the common cold
As a parent, it is natural to seek answers regarding the steps you need to take if your child has tested positive. It is necessary to understand that the impact of the disease is low in most cases of COVID in children and it is crucial not to panic. While doing your best to stay calm, follow medical guidelines, safety protocols and your doctor’s advice for a smooth recovery.
When Should You Take Your Child to the Doctor?
If your child needs to be tested, it is recommended that you observe and keep a close watch on the developing symptoms of COVID-19. The immediate step to be taken is to ensure safety protocols, such as wearing a mask, sanitising and physical distancing, are followed within the family.
Children with mild symptoms can stay at home throughout their recovery without the need for hospitalisation. However, if your child is experiencing serious symptoms that persist for more than 7 days, medical attention is necessary. The symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.
- A persistent fever higher than 100.4℃.
- Rashes, paleness in hands and palms.
- Acute and continuous lethargy.
- Abdominal pain or continuous vomiting.
- Signs of dehydration and diarrhoea.
What If Your Child Tests Positive for COVID-19?
The spread of coronavirus is mainly from person to person. Parents need not fear, as based on current evidence, children do not appear to be at a higher risk.
Parents can help prevent the spread of germs and educate their children to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Besides encouraging your child to follow safety protocols and hygienic methods, do the following:
- Ensure that fluids are given at regular intervals, with plenty of rest in the case of mild infections.
- Ensure proper ventilation in the rooms in which the kids stay.
- Teach them proper hygiene methods, such as washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based sanitiser.
- Make sure kids follow hygienic practices. In the case of infection, avoid sharing household items, utensils, cups and so on. Thoroughly wash the items in case of cross-contact.
- Teach effective respiratory practices of covering their mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue while coughing or sneezing. Disposal of tissues should also be taught.
- Continue masking or double masking within the household and within six feet of each other.
- For items used regularly, such as light switches, remote controls and so on, make sure to clean them using wipes.
Make sure you consult your doctor in any medical emergency. It is advised not to self-medicate. A proper diagnosis of the symptoms by a paediatrician is required for any prescription or medication.
What is the COVID-19 Incubation Period for Children?
The incubation period is defined as a period between the contraction of the virus and the onset of symptoms. In the case of the coronavirus,
- Studies show that the incubation period is almost similar for adults and children.
- Children show mild symptoms, but the typical incubation period ranges from 1-14 days, with an average of 3-7 days.
On average, symptoms showed around 5 days post-exposure to the virus. While caring for your children, keep in mind that the contagious stage is around 1-2 days before the symptoms occur. Hence, regardless of the stage, it is advised that you follow safety protocols strictly throughout the period of disease and recovery.
Will There be a COVID-19 Vaccine for Children?
Vaccines have undergone several clinical trials so that their safety and effectiveness is ensured; hence their availability depends on these factors. For now, the best way to protect and recover from COVID-19 is by following public safety and health guidelines.
Educate Your Kids Now, for a Safer Tomorrow
As a parent, explain the importance of hygienic practices and safety protocols and their role in disease prevention. It is natural to have queries, but the key is to refrain from panicking and educating your children instead. If a child tests positive for the virus, ensure that you put safety and hygiene, along with mental health.
The question of mental health arises as children can commonly have misconceptions or queries about the disease. As parents, do your best to have an age-appropriate conversation where you explain the situation in a manner that induces a sense of calm and answers their questions as well. Lead by example, tell them about safety and hygiene and teach them the appropriate measures to be taken during outbreaks and related health issues.
In the rare situations of accelerated symptoms, do consult a paediatrician at the earliest. For mild and asymptomatic cases, monitor your child’s health and behaviour and watch out for signs and symptoms requiring medical attention.
To relieve stress, family time with safety protocols is recommended. Focus on the things to be grateful for while spending quality time. Along with these, ensure that your kids constantly wash their hands, sanitise, maintain respiratory hygiene, adhere to proper disposal of materials, etc.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.