The Coronavirus ravaged the entire globe in 2020 and carried on well into 2021. At the height of the pandemic, the general consensus among medical experts was that children exhibited little or no symptoms of Covid even if they catch it. However, a second wave gripped many countries with new strains of the virus—the new strains brought about further complications that affect children differently.
The good news is that children, including infants, develop mild symptoms that do not continue for a long time except in rare cases. However, covid risks for children cannot be ignored. Recently many countries have witnessed the deaths of children affected by Covid.
What is a long or extended Covid?
On average, Covid symptoms last for about 15 days. As the patient recovers, the symptoms phase out gradually. For some people, though, the symptoms may linger beyond 15 days. So, in essence, a long Covid is an extended sign of symptoms present in victims after infection, which remain beyond two weeks. But can kids develop extended Covid symptoms?
Extended Covid in Kids and Infants?
When children and infants contract Covid, they can develop symptoms like fatigue, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, and loss of taste, among other symptoms. They mostly also remain asymptomatic. However, these facts are beginning to change in light of new developments. Today, there is new scientific evidence suggesting that children may suffer from extended Covid even if they do not show any physical symptoms that they have the virus. Experts are reporting cases of multi-system syndrome in children even after they recover from Covid. Some post-Covid symptoms include muscle pain, nausea, seizures, dizziness, testicular pain in boys, and gastrointestinal issues.
What do the studies say?
In Italy, a study sampled 129 children between the ages of 6-16 years. Their infection period occurred between March and November 2020. About 42.6 per cent of the children showed extended symptoms beyond 60 days after recovery. In Sweden, a study revealed that five children between the ages of 9-15 years had symptoms like laboured breathing, chest pain, and heart palpitations up to 8 months after infection.
Why do some children experience Extended Covid symptoms?
The factors responsible for this phenomenon are unknown for now. For adults, experts believe that symptoms persist after the initial infection because the virus remains in their system. And the persistence leads to possible infection, worsening of pre-existing conditions, and a weak immune system. Another reason why adults may experience extended symptoms may also be down to post-traumatic stress. But for children, these factors are non-existent.
More research underway
More research is underway to understand better the root causes of extended Covid symptoms in kids. Hopefully, if the experts know more, they can recommend new therapeutic measures to treat affected children.
In Australia, the number of Covid cases reported in children has been low. About 4.5 % of Covid cases recorded were in children. This, however, does not mean that Australian children are out of the woods. With new Covid strains affecting children in many other countries, the Australian government needs to continue to ensure strict hotel quarantine systems and safe return of Australian citizens from other countries.