Coronavirus in kids and babies can make you feel frightened and anxious. As parents, you try to safeguard your children from any disease. In such cases, when they show symptoms of the new disease that has affected lakhs of people across the globe, it is natural to feel fear. But, with proper information, you can take the right steps to avoid any complications. Scientists are still learning new facts regarding the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The virus can affect children and babies. But, it causes only mild infection compared to adults as well as older people. But, some kids with underlying health issues have developed serious symptoms. Remember, the infection is easy to manage with proper guidance from the medical professionals. So, instead of worrying about the disease, you need to take proactive steps. Read ahead to know more about it.
Symptoms Of Coronavirus In Kids And Babies
Coronavirus infection or COVID-19 is caused by the new strain of the virus, SARS-CoV-2. The infection can spread from one person to another through contaminated respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. It can also spread from a contaminated surface. So, when you touch the surface and then touch your face, nose, mouth, or eyes without washing hands, then the virus enters your body. When a person is exposed to the period, the symptoms appear after the incubation period. So, you observe signs within fourteen days of catching the virus. The common signs associated with the disease include:
- High fever
- Rapid breathing
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Shaking with chills
- Loss of smell or taste
Signs Of Coronavirus In Kids And Babies You Need To Watch Out
Due to coronavirus in kids and babies, they can suffer from the above-mentioned symptoms. They can also suffer from signs associated with inflammation which appears throughout the body. In some cases, such signs appear several weeks after getting the infection. Studies are still going on to understand how these signs are linked to the COVID-19. The symptoms prevalent in kids include:
- Fever lasting for several days
- Abdominal pain
- Develop skin rash
- Cracked, red lips
- Red eyes
- Swelling of feet and hands
- Joint pain
- Vision problems
- Look pale
The Next Step Parents Should Take Due To Coronavirus In Kids And Babies
When your child suffers from any disease, you tend to get stressed. As parents, you take great responsibility when it comes to the health of your children. So, it is normal to feel anxious when you observe symptoms that indicate coronavirus in kids and babies. In such cases, instead of panicking, you need to stay calm. Remember, get stressed will not offer you solutions. Keep yourself calm and follow the suggestions:
Contact Your Healthcare Provider
If you see symptoms of coronavirus infection in your kids, then you need to consult your doctor immediately. You can opt from one of the following methods to discuss the issue with your doctor:
Call Your Doctor When You Observe Signs Of Coronavirus In Kids And Babies
You need to make a phone call to the attending pediatrician. Your doctor has information about your child’s health history. So, your doctor can provide suggestions taking into consideration the special risks your child faces. You need to give proper information about how your child is doing. It is essential to inform the doctor about the chances of a child coming in contact with a person infected with COVID-19 or suspected of the infection. The doctor’s office will let you know the next step you need to take. For mild cases, you can stay at home. But, for emergency cases, you need to visit the hospital.
Several hospitals and doctors now provide telehealth visits. It means you can visit your healthcare provider without leaving your home. Check for a telehealth provider who specializes in caring for the kids. The doctor can assess the symptoms and ask you to come to the hospital immediately if something is serious. It will help you get the necessary guidance needed to safeguard your child’s health. Check for the telehealth option in your area before anyone falls sick.
Take Care At Home
You need to take care of your child when exhibit symptoms of coronavirus infection. Let them take rest as it allows the body the infection effectively. Fever and vomiting can lead to dehydration. So, your child must take fluids at regular intervals.
Watch out your kid for warning signs that indicate something serious. You need to get immediate medical help when you see the following:
- Your child looks very sick
- Shows signs of breathing difficulty (you can check it by observing the nostrils puffing out with each breath your child takes or muscles pulling in between the child’s rib)
- Feels sleepy or confused most of the time
- Complains of chest pain
- Has a sweaty, cold, blotchy or pale skin
- Feels dizzy
Go to the emergency room when the child is struggling to breathe, skin turns blue, faints, or feels too out of breath after walking or talk.
How To Keep Your Family Safe When You Suspect Coronavirus In Kids And Babies?
When you suspect coronavirus in kids and babies, then you need to take steps to prevent the infection from others. So, you need to follow the steps suggested below:
Quarantine At Home To Handle Coronavirus In Kids And Babies
You need to keep the sick child at home. It will prevent your child from catching other germs. Isolating the child will also prevent the infection to others. If your doctor suspects your child has coronavirus infection, then your family needs to stay at home.
Assign One Person For Care
Instead of everyone in the family caring for the sick child, try to limit one person to take care of the infected child. It will limit exposure to the virus. Keep the other people as well as pets in the house away from the sick child as much as possible.
For children above two years, you can opt for a cloth face covering or mask. Choose one that will not make it hard to breathe. But, never leave them with the mask without a caretaker in the room. It puts the child at risk of suffocation. If your child cannot wear a face mask, then the caregiver must wear it all the time when they are in the same room as the sick child.
Use Different Bathroom
If it is possible, allocate a separate bathroom for your sick child. The other members of the family must never use the bathroom you have allocated for the child. Clean the bathroom often and wipe it down with disinfectant.
Everyone in your family must wash their hands well. You need to follow the proper handwashing technique while washing the hands frequently. You need to use soap and water. Lather your hands at least for twenty seconds and rinse off. If you have no access to soap and water, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill all the germs from your hands.
Clean And Disinfect
You need to clean and disinfect the high-touch surface areas. Use a cleaner to clean the things and surfaces that your child touches a lot. Include the following areas when you clean and disinfect:
- Light switches
- Remote controls
You need to clean and disinfect every day. These steps can keep the other members of the family safe from the infection even when you care for the infected child.
Testing For Coronavirus In Kids And Babies
How do doctors test for coronavirus in kids and babies? The testing norms are changing with healthcare professionals, commercial labs, and the health department come together to find the most effective method to detect the presence of infection.
Procedure To Detect Coronavirus In Kids And Babies
The doctor puts a long Q-tip into the nose to get the sample. This procedure is called a nasal swab. It is sealed and sent to the lab for testing. The doctor can also take the mucus sample you have coughed up and sent it to testing. In countries like the USA, drive through testing is available. So, people can stay in the car when the healthcare professional extracts the sample swab.
How Is Coronavirus In Kids And Babies (COVID-19) Treated?
You have no specific treatment option available to recover from the illness. Doctors and researchers are trying to find medicine and a vaccine for overcoming the infection. Healthy people, including young children, can beat the infection with good rest and taking enough fluids at the right intervals. Follow the doctor’s advice and provide fever-reducing medications to get well quickly. But, if you observe severe symptoms, then take your child to the hospital immediately for better treatment.
Risks Of Coronavirus In Kids And Babies
As COVID-19 is on the rise, the cases recorded around the world indicate that older people or individuals with underlying medical conditions can suffer serious complications. In most of the cases, children suffering from coronavirus infection are largely unharmed by the disease. But, a small percentage of coronavirus in kids and babies can result in serious illness. In more than 90% of the cases, children only experience mild to moderate symptoms like fever, sore throat, cough, sneezing, and sore throat.
Critical Issues Due To Coronavirus In Kids And Babies
According to a new study, around 6% of the children who developed COVID-19 developed a severe or critical illness. So, they suffered from the following issues:
- Shortness of breath
- Low levels of oxygen in the body tissues (hypoxia)
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
In some rare cases, coronavirus in kids and babies can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome. It is a life-threatening condition caused due to deprivation of oxygen in the lungs as well as the bloodstream. The condition is severe and leads to death without medical intervention.
Risk Of Coronavirus In Kids And Babies: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children (MIS-C)
It is a rare risk of coronavirus in kids and babies. The first case was identified by the physicians in the UK who treated children with coronavirus infection. After the reports of the first case, the doctors diagnosed many children in the USA with MIS-c. Unfortunately, some children who suffered the complication due to COVID-19 succumbed to death. The children who died are aged between five and fourteen. Scientists are investigating more than a hundred cases of MIS-C as many hospitals have reported the complication in children who are suffering or recovered from COVID-19.
Some experts believe MIS-C is a post-viral syndrome or an overreaction by the body’s immune system to COVID-19. Many children affected either had exposure to someone with COVID-19, tested positive for COVID-19, or had positive antibody tests, meaning their immune system had created antibodies in response to the virus. Preliminary data shows most of the cases are in children between ages 5 and 14 years old.
What Is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children (MIS-C)
It is the condition affecting children, which causes inflammation in different parts of the body. The parts that become inflamed due to the condition are:
- Gastrointestinal organs
It remains unclear as to what exactly causes MIS-C. But, scientists have discovered that children who suffer from MIS-C have the presence of coronavirus or its antibodies in their blood. MIS-C is a serious complication that can result in the death of the child. With early medical intervention, children can recover from severe conditions. So, consult the doctor immediately when you see the symptoms linked to the condition.
Similarity Of MIS-C And Kawasaki Disease
Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome share some traits with MIS-C. So, the children who suffer from the other two diseases can also experience similar signs like:
- Swollen feet and hands
- Red tongue, lips, and eyes
- Persistent fever
Many doctors first suspected the signs of Kawasaki disease. It is a non-contagious yet rare disease. This childhood disease affects children below five years of age. The condition is common in boys compared to girls. Without proper medical treatment, Kawasaki disease can result in serious heart issues. With prompt medical intervention, children who suffer from the disease can recover within a few weeks. MIS-C has similar symptoms, but it does not affect children exactly like Kawasaki disease. MIS-C tends to affect the heart differently. So, often it results in characteristics similar to toxic shock. While the relationship of the MIS-C to COVID-19 remains unclear for now, you need to observe for the warning signs. Get medical help immediately without any delay.
Symptoms Of MIS-C
To detect the complications like MIS-C due to coronavirus in kids, you need to check for certain signs. These signs can show several weeks or within a month after your child is exposed to the virus. Even if your child showed no symptoms of coronavirus, you need to observe for signs of MIS-C. It is because some kids may suffer from the virus with no symptoms. Only when antibodies are detected in their blood, the parents become aware of it. The symptoms of MIS-C do not include the typical respiratory symptoms you see with COVID-19. So, act quickly when you notice them and get medical assistance immediately:
- Prolonged and persistent high fever (for more than four days)
- Feeling lethargic
- Skin discoloration (blue, patchy, or pale skin)
- Develop a skin rash
- See red tongue, lip, and eyes
- Swelling of feet and hands
- Have no appetite or trouble feeding infants
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Decreased urination
Most children with COVID-19 seem to have mild illness and serious cases remain rare among children. Though uncommon, MIS-C is still a serious complication and some children may become very sick. Prompt treatment is important and may include blood thinners, IV immunoglobulin, and corticosteroids.
How To Prevent Coronavirus In Kids And Babies?
Children are susceptible to infections, especially contagious ones like coronavirus infection. So, you need to take steps to prevent contagious disease. Here are some of the tips you need to follow:
Reduce Coronavirus Risk In Kids And Babies By Teaching And Reinforcing Preventive Actions
Young children who can understand what parents say need to learn the daily actions that will keep them safe. So, you need to teach the following:
- You have an important role in making your children learn the importance of washing hands. So, explain to them the need to keep their hands clean. Keeping the hands clean will prevent the spread of infection.
- Teach the children the right technique of handwashing. Show them how to clean their hands using soap and water. Demonstrate how they need to wash their hands to get rid of harmful pathogens.
- Your kids look up to you. So, you need to become a good role model by washing your hands frequently. When you wash your hands often, they will do the same.
- To make your children understand the importance of handwashing, you can make it a family activity.
Help Your Children Stay Active
Staying indoors for a long time will affect the mental and physical health of your child. So, you need to take up activities that will help your child improve the blood flow in the body. It will also help your child stay healthy and avoid mental issues. To enhance the physical and mental health, you need to follow the guidelines:
- Take a walk with your child or go on a bike to help them get rid of the boredom.
- If you have a yard, then you need to encourage your child to play outdoors. It is great for maintaining your mental and physical health. Since the kids can’t play with other kids, you can join them.
- You can help your child stay active by using indoor activity breaks. So, try to include dance breaks and stretch breaks to encourage your children to stay active throughout the day. It will help them stay healthy and focused.
Encourage Social Connection
Humans crave social connection. Your child is no exemption of the rule. They need to talk with others. With no schools opening, your child may like to talk to others. So, you need to take steps to ensure they are socially connected. You can achieve it by the following:
- Use digital tools to reach out to friends and family members. You can use social media platforms or apps to make phone or video calls. So, it will help your child talk to their friends or other family members.
- You can encourage them to make cards or write letters to people they are unable to visit or call. It will help them convey their thoughts.
Avoid Hands Off Faces
Young children are not aware of the danger caused by touching their face frequently. So, you need to remind the children of the dangers of touching their face with unwashed hands. Children tend to forget the advice you give them. So, you can take the proactive step by suggesting another plan. Your children can carry a toy. It will keep their hands busy. But, you need to wash these toys and disinfect them regularly.
Keep Things Clean
You need to clean and disinfect all the surfaces your child tends to touch. So, focus on the high-touch surface your kids touch regularly. Use a cleaner to clean the surface and wipe the surfaces by using a disinfectant. Wipe down the kitchen cabinets that your child can reach and the toys along with other high-touch surfaces. Keep the cleaning solution and disinfectant away from the kids. If possible secure the items with childproof locks. You must also disinfect when you travel or come near a person who is sick.
Manage Stress Caused By Lockdown
Lockdown means you and your family have to remain at home. It means your kids cannot talk to their friends or teachers. Due to staying at home for a long time without contact with the outside world can cause quarantine fatigue. It can cause mental issues like stress and anxiety in children. The fear that the infection can affect children can also lead to stress. In such cases, you need to help your child cope with stress. To manage the negative reaction, you need to watch the signs for stress as well as behavior changes. Every child is different. So, they respond to stress differently. But, you need to watch the kids and teens for the following:
- Excessive worry
- Unhealthy eating habits (eating too much or too little)
- Unhealthy sleeping habits
- Trouble focusing and concentrating
When you see the signs of stress or depression in your child, you need to provide support for the child. You need to talk to the child regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. You have to share all the facts regarding the disease in simple terms, which your children can understand. It is important to tell about your fears too, as they will understand that feeling fearful or stressed is a natural reaction.
Cover Coughs And Sneezes
Teach them to cover their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze. Tell them to use a tissue to cover the nose and mouth when they feel like sneezing or coughing. Also, ask them to dispose of the tissue in a trash can. Then, they need to wash their hands with soap and water. You need to make them understand the necessity of following these steps to avoid coronavirus in kids and babies. It will keep everyone in your home safe.
Avoid Contact With People
You must limit taking children below ten years of age in a public setting. So, try to avoid visits to supermarkets or other public places with your child. It is necessary to avoid contact with people as many of them are asymptomatic. So, they may not show symptoms. But, children who come in close contact with sick people have a high risk of suffering from the infection.
Use A Mask
For children above two years and with no underlying respiratory problems, using a mask is advisable when they go out. Encourage using a mask as it can avoid transmission of contagious disease to others.
Take All Vaccination
Children younger than five years face a high risk of developing complications when they suffer from flu or other infections. Therefore, you need to check if your baby or child has received all the suggested vaccinations. The recommended vaccination for issues like measles, flu, or others will offer the best defense against the diseases. Taking all the vaccination reduces the spread of infection to others. So, check the vaccination schedule of your child. Discuss the options to get the vaccination and schedule an appointment. It will reduce the risk of flu and related infections as well as other complications.
Coronavirus in kids and babies can lead to severe complications without proper care and management. So, you need to follow the guidelines suggested by the doctor and the local health department. With proper care and caution, you can avoid the sickness from spreading to others. Effective care will help your child overcome the disease without any severe complications.View Article Sources