#childsafety | Surge in hospitalisation of Covid positive children with comorbidities, doctors advice caution


As new Covid-19 cases fuelled by the new Omicron variant continue to surge at an alarming rate across the country, parents of young and unvaccinated children have once again started expressing their concern.

According to sources in the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, as many as 31 children have been hospitalised in Delhi, all below 15 years. Of these, nine are admitted to private hospitals. Doctors have advised caution but added that there is no need to panic as most hospitalised cases are of comorbidity and report quick recovery with simple treatment”.

While eight children reported seizures, two have low blood pressure. The rest have existing comorbidities, apart from Covid-19.

READ: How schools plan to help in Covid vaccination drive for 15-18 age group

Sources at Delhi’s Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalay, a prominent child speciality government hospital, said that two children aged less than two years were admitted as Covid-19 patients and daily pediatric cases are arriving on an OPD basis.

According to doctors at the Madhukar Rainbow Hospital, no child is on a ventilator.

Doctors treating the paediatric age group assured “hospital admission is brief and results in quick recovery. The number of hospital admissions is not as high as the second wave”.

Patients in need of hospital admission reported “high grade fever or unable to accept oral medication.”

“Children are admitted only when they develop breathing difficulty due to infection with the voice box (Laryngo-tracheo Bronchitis). Simple nebulisation treatment is provided and the patient is discharged in 3-5 days. Severe cases are of children reporting seizures in high-grade fever, not just if they test Covid-19 positive. They need admission and get discharged by the third day. Most cases are treated on an OPD basis,” said Dr. Chandrashekar Singha, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Intensivist, Madhukar Rainbow Hospital.

Special arrangements for parents and children to stay together have been made at Madhukar Rainbow Hospital, so families feel no cause of concern about child safety.

Dr. Dhiren Gupta, Senior Pediatric Consultant, Sir Gangaram Hospital advised parents to exercise caution and told India Today that ” the 11 to 18 year age group have more fever and dry cough as visible symptoms. Despite higher infection, hospitalisation is low and innate immunity makes children less vulnerable.”

Symptoms for children, according to doctors, in the Omicron wave are high grade fever, pain in the throat, loose motion, vomiting, mostly treating OPD bases.

Dr Supraja Chandrashekhar, Consultant Pediatric Intensivist, Manipal Hospital Yeshwanthpur in Karnataka has seen 15 children in the OPD till now and cautions against self-medication.

“Five children were admitted not just for severe Covid illness but because Covid was also associated with other problems. 15 patients in OPD have managed safely at home. Most reported bodyache, sore throat, running nose and coughing and did not feel like eating food. While cases are in the second week of infection and are recovering well, I advise against self-medication by parents to children reporting symptoms and seek medical help.”

SURGE IN KIDS’ HOSPITALISATION

India is closely watching the surge in the USA, reporting a surge in the paediatric age-group.

According to reports citing government data, hospitalisations of children in the US under 5 with Covid-19 soared in recent weeks to the highest levels since the pandemic began.

Since early December, as the highly contagious Omicron variant has spread furiously around the country, the hospitalisation rate in these youngest children has surged to more than 4 in 100,000 youngsters.

That compares with about 1 per 100,000 for kids ages 5 to 17, according to CDC data.

Since mid-December, the hospitalisation rate in these youngest kids has surged to more than 4 in 100,000 children, up from 2.5 per 100,000. The rate among children ages 5 to 17 is about 1 per 100,000, according to the CDC data, which is drawn from over 250 hospitals in 14 states in the US.

Similar to what Indian medical experts are suggesting, doctors around America are also reportedly citing other health conditions in Covid-19 affected children, that make them more vulnerable to complications from coronavirus.

GUARDIANS CONCERNED

Parents are worried about toddlers, as global data suggests a surge in hospitalisation of children.

Priya, mother to a one-year-old in Delhi, is over-cautious with visitors in the house. “This wave appears to be immensely contagious. Though all adults in our family are double-vaccinated, we ensure them to stay cautious and ask our guests to keep masks on throughout. Sadly, our baby has limited interaction with children due to fear of spreading, as we are unsure of other families’ following due precautions.”

Sonal’s 16-year-old son is Covid positive, days after he was jabbed with the vaccine for teens.

“My son went to get a vaccine shot on January 5 and tested positive for Covid two days later. The symptoms are not mild, he has a high fever, body ache and head ache.”

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