Study Reveals Long Covid Manifestations in Children
In a recent study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, researchers have found that children infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus can experience long Covid symptoms lasting for at least two months. While this highlights a concerning issue, experts are emphasizing the importance of early treatment rather than panic.
Multiple Presentations of Long Covid in Children
According to Dr. Col. Vijay Dutta, a senior consultant in Internal Medicine at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, long Covid syndrome in children presents itself similarly to adults. Symptoms can vary and include respiratory problems, recurrent pneumonia, gastrointestinal infections, weight loss, and even rheumatological disorder overlap syndromes. These symptoms are commonly observed in the pediatric age group with lowered immunity, which is now being encountered in children who have previously suffered from Covid.
Expert Opinion and Caution
Dr. Krishan Chugh, Director and Head of the Pediatrics Department at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, suggests that there is no need to panic. Referring to the Lancet study, he explains that although children who tested positive for Covid had a higher chance of experiencing symptoms at the second and third month compared to those who remained indoors, the majority of the symptoms were mild. Interestingly, the study found that the quality of life related to emotional and social functioning was better in children with Covid compared to controls in the older age group.
Varied Symptoms and the Need for Further Research
Different age groups exhibited varying symptoms. In the 0-3 years category, mood swings, rashes, and stomach aches were commonly reported. Among 4-11-year-olds, trouble remembering or concentrating, rashes, and mood swings were frequently observed. Fatigue, mood swings, and trouble remembering or concentrating were the main symptoms reported by 12-14-year-olds. However, experts caution that many of these symptoms can also occur in children who have been forced to stay indoors without any contact outside.
Difficulties in Diagnosing Long Covid in Children
Dr. Meena J, a senior consultant in pediatrics and neonatology at Aakash Healthcare, offers a differing viewpoint, stating that diagnosing long Covid syndrome in children is challenging. She explains that it is difficult to differentiate long Covid symptoms from other diseases or ailments due to various factors and varying symptoms. While symptoms such as anorexia, weakness, joint pain, and irritability have been observed in several children post-Covid, further research and larger population-based studies are needed to accurately assess the impact of the virus on children.