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Coronavirus: How is the second wave different for kids? We spoke to pediatricians to get you answers

Ever since the second wave has hit our country, children who were only considered super spreaders until recently, have come to be hit by the menacing virus too. In fact, a recent report revealed that a lot of 0 to 19-year-olds are getting admitted to the hospital due to COVID. So those of you who have kids at home, what should you do?

Dr Arun Shah, senior pediatrician, MD DCH FRCP FIMSA FIAP FNNF FIAMS, President IAP Bihar 2018 explains, “2021, unlike 2020 is different for kids. In 2020, most children were asymptomatic and were rarely affected. But due to the high infectivity and simultaneous 3-4 strains in the country, a lot of children are getting infected. The virus has a higher attaching capability and children are also reporting symptoms. I get multiple calls from parents throughout the day about their child testing positive.” The virus is incidentally also presenting different behaviour and clinical presentation in some. Some of the signs seen in kids are high fever, diarrhoea, pain in the abdomen, fatigue, weakness. “Most shocking is that sometimes it’s clinically proven to be COVID but the RT-PCR report shows a negative report.”

If someone in the family tests positive…

Dr. Preetha Joshi, Consultant, Neonatal, Pediatric and Cardiac Intensivist, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) explains, “If there is a fear of exposure, showcasing any symptoms like cough or cold or in case someone has tested positive, then parents should immediately isolate themselves and avoid contact with the child – provided a caretaker is available. If not and all are asymptomatic, then the child can be looked after with everyone masking and following hand hygiene properly.”

If the child starts showing symptoms…


Dr Preetha adds, “At present, if a child develops fever and other members are have no symptoms then one has to assume the child is positive and the parents or family members are asymptomatic because, in present times, it is the most prevalent infection.

Start treating the child for fever with antiviratic like crocin or paracetamol and if the fever continues for more than two days then getting the child tested is a must. Children can be tested using the RTPCR (Nasal swab) test.”

The most visible symptoms at the moment are cold and cough, rare symptoms are abdominal pain or loose motions. Follow symptomatic treatment, as children don’t develop very severe disease, it is manageable. For loose motions follow hydration, for fever, cold and cough give them routine medications

Symptoms to be cautious about


There can be two types of critical signs, according to Dr Preetha

– Child is COVID positive because the family has tested positive – this is called acute COVID – the child has got COVID freshly. Usually, children develop cough and cold, however, children with co-morbidities develop little more illness with issues like breathlessness. If this happens then hospitalization is required

– Illness visible four weeks after a child has contracted COVID or if the family was tested positive for COVID. This is called Kawasaki like syndrome, which presents with rash, fever, redness of eyes, tongue, hands and feet. Keep monitoring the child’s health for a minimum a month as this syndrome is dangerous and if at all the child develops Kawasaki like syndrome symptoms, immediately seek medical help as most of these children need hospitalisation.

Keep the kids safe

Have a well-balanced diet with vitamins and minerals which are present in fruits and vegetables.

Plenty of hydration is recommended

As going out is not an option at the moment, kids should be engaged with indoor activities like yoga or mild exercises. Parents can seek help from online videos to help their child. The need is to encourage the child to have a well-balanced routine to keep them mentally and physically fit.