Q. The new Covid strain is affecting children. What can parents do if their kid has tested positive?
Ans: A – Contact tracing within the family should be done, whether anyone else is positive and source of infection. B – If no one else is infected, then only one person in the house should look after the child and all interaction with other members, specially the elderly, should be stopped immediately. In fact, this step should be taken when there are symptoms like Covid, even before the results are out. C —Washing hands, clothes, utensils and items, which are used or touched by the child should be thoroughly followed. And D – Consult a doctor who treats Covid immediately.
The doctor will be able to decide what form of treatment is required and whether hospitalisation is necessary or not based on clinical features, requirement of supportive care, risk factors with pre-existing diseases, ability of parents to isolate and care for the child at home, etc.
Q: What are the common symptoms parents should look out for?
Ans: Fever, cough, fatigue, anorexia, diarrhoea, body ache, shortness of breath are the common symptoms. Occasionally children get headache, confusion, sore throat, vomiting and some other vague symptoms.
Q: What kind of diet should COVID positive kid follow?
Ans: Proper hydration with water and fluid intake, adequate calories, adequate protein intake, plenty of fruits/salads, vegetables for improving vitamin and micronutrient intake.
Q: What can be done to increase the child’s immune system?
Ans: Unless the child has an inborn or acquired immune deficiency, the regular measures applicable to adults like balanced diet, basic hygiene, adequate sleep, regular and complete immunisations, age-appropriate physical activity, etc. are required for children to have a strong immune system.
Q: Wearing masks is mandatory for COVID patients. Is it mandatory for kids as well?
Ans: As per WHO and UNICEF recommendations, masks should be worn by children over 5 years of age. Wearing of masks become ineffective and even detrimental when the guidelines of proper use of masks is not followed and in children it is very difficult to adhere to the guidelines.
In such condition when the child has contracted covid, he/she should be wearing medical mask.
Q: What should parents do to keep their child in a good frame of mind?
Ans: The parents should themselves remain cheerful, not blame the child or anyone in front of the child. They should lovingly explain the Covid infection and the general treatment at home including isolation, personal hygiene, basic care to protect others from contracting the infection from the child if he/she is the primary source.
Along with this maintain good ventilation in the house, allow them to rest adequately, provide the child with toys which will be used only by him/her which will help the child to combat loneliness.
Q: A recent study claimed children with weak immune system not at higher risk of contracting the virus. Is it true?
Ans: The study which has been referred to probably is the one done in Southampton by Dr. Hans de Graf. This is an observational study in the first wave of the pandemic in UK when there were stricter regulations, lockdown, shielding of children from exposure to the virus, etc. In India, and in this second wave, it cannot be applicable to the current situation.