New Delhi: The surging cases of Covid-19 infection has also started affecting infants and children, with many of them reporting high fever, cough and even itchy eyes and conjunctivitis, said doctors here on Monday.
From the beginning, Covid was rare and mild in children. But some of those infected faced severe multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) — a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
However, this time, it is showing newer symptoms like itchy eyes that were not seen during previous Covid waves.
“There has been a sudden onset of acute febrile illness with positive RT-PCR for SARS-CoV2 among infants, aged 6-11 months,” Dr. Vipin M. Vashishtha, member of WHO’s Vaccine Safety Net, told IANS.
“Most children presented with moderate fever, cold and mild cough with features of bronchitis. The one differentiating feature is conjunctivitis, not seen in previous waves, especially here,” he added.
Vashishtha, who is also a consultant paediatrician at the Mangla Hospital and Research Centre in Bijnor, UP, said that the Covid infection in children, which has surfaced once again after a gap of six months, is not “MIS-C, which has rash and other features”.
“The incidence of Covid among children is rising. They are being brought with simple respiratory infections and then testing positive for Covid,” Dr Krishan Chugh, Director and head of the department of paediatrics at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, told IANS.
Chugh added that children, mainly of “school going age, are increasingly being affected with fever and throat pain since the last two weeks”. He said that in most cases they are acquiring the infection from infected family members.
While the infection is rising, the doctors said that there has been no case of hospitalisation and that the children are responding to treatment.
They suggested using masks, maintaining social distance, and washing hands regularly.
India on Monday logged 5,880 coronavirus cases, according to data released by the Union Health Ministry on Monday. The country also saw 14 deaths due to the virus.
Besides, Covid, doctors report that Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is also rising among kids. RSV is a highly contagious virus that causes respiratory infections, especially in young children.
“In changing weather, along with Covid-19 and the flu, we are witnessing a spike in cases of RSV, and not only young children but even infants are getting affected by it,” Dr. R. D. Srivastava, HoD and Senior Consultant in Pediatric Medicine and Neonatology at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, Paschim Vihar, told IANS.
RSV is highly contagious and spreads through contact with droplets from the nose or throat of an infected person, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, running or stuffy nose, breathing problems, sore throat, earache, and headache.
“Prevention is the key to dealing with this. Prevention includes frequent hand washing, avoiding contact with people who have respiratory infections, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, keeping infants and young children away from crowds and people with respiratory infections, and vaccination for those at high risk,” Dr Roli Munshi, Consultant – Paediatrics at Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital Delhi, told IANS.
“It’s important to contact your paediatrician for proper evaluation and treatment if your child is experiencing symptoms of a respiratory infection,” Munshi said.
“Treatment is supportive care, such as rest, fluids, fever-reducing medications, over-the-counter cold and cough medications, humidifiers or saline nasal drops, and oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation for severe cases,” he added.
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