Coronavirus outbreak: How to keep children safe? Expert answers all your questions

Delhi Mar 20, 2020, 03.04 PM(IST) Written By: Dr Manas Kalra

School officials check the temperatures of students before they enter a school in Tangerang, Indonesia. Photograph:( AFP )

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The effects of coronavirus have been milder on children, however, in some cases, they have faced severe complications.

As coronavirus is raging across the globe, it has left the nations worried and paralysed. So far, over 2,46000 people have been infected with Covid-19 and more than 10,000 have succumbed to the disease.

The effects of coronavirus have been milder on children, however, in some cases, they have faced severe complications. We answer some important questions which can help parents protect their kids from the pandemic:

Q: What are the symptoms in children if they catch coronavirus? 

A: Fever, cough, respiratory distress (mild to severe). Cold is less common. Vomiting and diarrhoea is also reported. 

Q: Does it affect children differently? If yes, then how and why? 

A: Symptoms are generally milder in children. They usually don't require to be admitted to the intensive care unit admission (ICU). Data of Covid 19 in young children is sparse. Why they behave differently is not known exactly. There have been no reported deaths in children with Covid 19 so far.  

Q: If a child has a health condition then should the parents be more worried? And, how to deal with this?

A: Yes, children suffering from chronic lung diseases like asthma, simultaneous respiratory infections, children on steroids and other immunodeficient conditions like cancer treatment are at higher risk of complications. They should report to the treating physician urgently if they develop symptoms suggestive of respiratory tract infections. 

Q: Which age is more vulnerable in children? 

A: The overall risk to children is low, but infants can experience more severe illness compared to older children.  

Q: When should a child be taken to a doctor, in case there are symptoms? 

A: If the child is very sick, get immediate medical attention. In case of warning symptoms like high-grade fever, persistent cough, trouble in breathing, the child should be taken to a doctor. 

If a child is a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or in contact with a person with a recent history of travel or if you are a resident in a community where there is an ongoing spread of COVID-19 and develop symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about the child's exposure. 

Q: What can parents do at home to protect the children from the pandemic? 

A: Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away. If you feel sick, stay home.  

Keep kids busy with indoor games, getting them involved with the day to day chores, self-study, and art & craft activities. 

Q: Some people are hoarding antibiotics, paracetamol etc – will these medicines help? Or can regular medicines like Crocin etc be given to children in case they have fever? 

A: Paracetamol can be given in case of fever. Antibiotics are not effective against Covid 19. Crocin is a brand name for paracetamol. It is not a different drug.  

Q: Any suggestions to increase kid’s immunity? 

 A: Eat healthy food, exercise at home.