Coronavirus In Kids And Babies: What We Know So Far
We’re in an extremely complex, ever-changing climate. As we navigate the spread and change of the coronavirus pandemic, we learn more. Things we thought were facts a few months ago, turn out not to be as true as we thought.
For example, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we were told that it primarily affects older people and those with co-morbidities. And while those sectors of society are still some of the worst affected, this novel virus continues to show us new sides. Today, we’re going to have a look at what we know thus far about the coronavirus and its effects on babies and children.
Kids and the coronavirus
While we were initially told that kids don’t really get COVID-19 — or get it really mildly — new experience and research are showing a slightly different situation. For example, while the majority of children and babies experience COVID-19 far more mildly than adults, it appears to be correlated with a rise in PIMS (Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome) as well as the incidence of auto-immune disease, Kawasaki.
What happens when babies get COVID-19?
According to what is known so far, babies and children experience the same symptoms as adults when they test positive for COVID-19. Fever, runny nose, sneezing, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea are common symptoms for children.
However, according to Dr Golioto, “it appears that infants under 1 year of age have a higher likelihood of being severely or critically ill compared to older children,” though a lesser likelihood compared to adults.
And when it’s serious?
When it’s bad, it’s pretty bad. Experts are seeing links between COVID-19 and PIMS also known as paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). This is an over-inflated immune response in the child’s body, resulting in symptoms such as fever, rash, eye irritation, swollen hands or feet and belly pain. If you see any of these symptoms in your baby or child, you should contact your doctor immediately.
What is the role of babies and children in the spread of the virus?
One of the reasons that schools were closed so early on in the course of the pandemic is because children are quite frequently either mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers of the virus, but can easily spread it around.
Children are, by their very nature, not great at being socially distant. They touch everything and everyone around them, then touch their parents, grandparents and their own mouths and noses often. Research has shown that social distancing, frequent washing of hands, and the wearing of masks greatly reduces the spread of the virus. However, children under two are going to find all of that incredibly difficult, and it is even advised that young children don’t wear masks, as it can affect them negatively.
As it is an ongoing, ever-changing situation, it’s hard to say exactly what will happen when or if your baby or child contracts the novel coronavirus. That being said, generally, babies and children tend to experience it less severely, with a few having far more serious symptoms. There are also linked between COVID-19 and an outsized immune response in children.
The best course of action is to keep kids at home as much as is possible for your life and your situation. Help them get involved in washing their hands frequently, and practising not touching things. If they are over two years old, encourage them to wear masks or face shields when they have to be out and about.
If you spot any of the common coronavirus symptoms or those of PIMS, contact your doctor immediately.
How Are Babies Affected by the Coronavirus? Everything We Know Right Now: https://www.whattoexpect.com/news/family/coronavirus-in-babies/
Pregnant and worried about the new coronavirus?: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pregnant-and-worried-about-the-new-coronavirus-2020031619212#q9
Coronavirus in Babies and Kids: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-in-babies-and-children
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): What parents should know: https://www.unicef.org/stories/novel-coronavirus-outbreak-what-parents-should-know