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Will third wave of Covid-19 affect children? Child specialist advises not to panic

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Jun 03, 2021 12:26 am

Our Reporter
Dimapur, June 2 (EMN):
As speculation that the third wave of Covid-19 could affect children, triggering concern among the parents, Dr. Apong Lonchar, child specialist at Nikos Hospital and Research Centre, said that ‘we do not know possibilities, the nature of the third wave and when it will come as the virus keeps mutating and adapting’ to the environment.

Senior citizens and those with comorbidity were affected in the first wave, said Dr. Longchar, in a video, adding that adults in the age group of 35 to 40 and younger age group were affected in the second wave.

On concern about the possibility of the next wave affecting the children, Longchar explained that the virus could evolve and target children in the third wave as they are not vaccinated, and it is also the fear and concern expressed by experts.

“People are discussing about third wave and whether children will be more in danger during the possible third wave. This has become a concern and fear for the children. No one can accurately say whether the third wave will come in our place and if it comes, then when and how severe no one knows. But looking at other countries and past viral pandemics in history, pandemics come in many waves,” he stated.

“But as per the Indian Academy of Paediatrician (IAP), there is no evidence indicating that children will have more severe disease in the third wave. In the first and second waves, compared to adults, children who got infected developed less severe infection. Let us hope for the best and be prepared for the worst and not panic as a caretaker of children,” he assured.

“We should be prepared for the third wave, keeping our guards up and strictly following Covid- appropriate behaviour and teaching our children on hand hygiene, proper mask and social distancing. The caretaker and guardian of children should be vaccinated,” he reiterated.

How to monitor Covid-positive child

According to the doctor, if a child is Covid-positive with mild symptoms and asymptomatic, they can be given home treatment. The parent or guardian can become the frontline worker by identifying asymptomatic and mild symptoms, he said.

Mild Covid symptom,s he explained, are fever, cough, cold, throat pain, body ache, vomiting, loose stool and pain in abdomen. Moderate Covid symptoms are fast breathing with mild symptoms and pneumonia, and oxygen saturation less than 94%. The severe Covid-19 symptoms include moderate symptoms with grunting, lethargy, seizures, oxygen saturation less than 90%.

“A child with Covid-19 never progresses from mild to severe as it takes a day or days for a mild symptom to progress to severe if not treated on time and properly. So parents can learn and monitor their child’s progress from mild to moderate to severe,” he explained.

Dr. Longchar stressed on the importance of monitoring temperature with a thermometer and breathing. He elucidated that the normal body temperature should be 97.7 to 98.6 F or 36.5 to 37 C. When the temperature reads up to 99+, it indicates fever. Infrared thermometers can measure temperature in seconds without touching, he informed.

“If there are no instruments to check the temperature, touch the forehead and the neck to check with the back of the hand. Do not check hands and neck as it may be cold even when the child is having high fever. Child with fever will be lethargic and may have chills and rigor,” he added.

Since coronavirus affects the lungs, causing breathing problems, one can measure the body oxygen level with a pulse oximeter. The fingers should be clean and without any nail paint or deformity. If the oxygen level is low, then check again after five minutes, he said.

Children of different ages have different respiratory rates, explained Longchar, while adding that fast breathing according to age is — a newborn below two months old is 60/minute; one to 12 months is 50/minute; one to five years is 40/minute and five years and above is 30/minute. To count fast breathing in a child, the best time is when a child is calm or asleep. He cautioned that it should not be monitored when a child is breastfeeding or crying as their breathing increases in this hour.

It may be noted that a child’s breathing rate is always taken in one minute counts.

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Jun 03, 2021 12:26:22 am