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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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Delta Variant of COVID19 and its impact on kids: What parents should know about

Delta Variant, the name is enough to bring back the images of the havoc wrought country. The variant – labeled as the ‘Variant of Concern’ by World Health Organization or WHO is now known to be the reason behind the deadly second wave that swept the country in April-May this year. The wave, like a tsunami, left everyone battered, destroying families and leaving children orphaned. Delta Variant of COVID19 and its impact on kids was also studied by experts carefully and minutely. The concern – would the variant affect kids? Here is what parents should know.

COVID19 – Third Wave

COVID19 cases have started to show a promising decline in the country. Barring a few states, the numbers of cases have stayed relatively flat over the past few weeks. Today, the country recorded just over twenty five thousand cases (25166) and over 88 lakh vaccinations. With increased vaccination, many are now hoping for a subdued ‘third wave’ while many are praying for ‘no third wave’. Concerns for safety of kids, however, remain high.

Even as the pace of vaccinations gain momentum, kids remain vulnerable. A few vaccines have started testing on kids in the 12-18 age groups. Vaccinations for kids would take a while. Till then, they remain susceptible and vulnerable.

Delta Variant and Kids: How it affects children

Coronavirus, at the onset, was said to be relatively ineffective on kids. With the first wave, numbers suggested that the virus was deadlier for people in the age group of 60 and above. For kids, the virus was found to have minimal and mild impact. That was before Delta Variant struck India.

Responsible for the massive second wave, the Delta Variant of COVID was found to be highly transmissible. Many even reported the variant’s sneaky nature of going undetected. Within a week the variant had broken the peaks of the first wave and sent the nation ‘s medical infrastructure on its knees. Disturbingly, the variant was also seen active in kids.

Fact: Delta Variant, like any other variant can impact kids

All variants of COVID19 or coronavirus can impact kids. The world over, while the number of cases of child was relatively less, it was still enough to confirm that kids are not ‘immune’ to the virus. Second wave saw an increased number of infections among kids. Experts have attributed this to overall increase in number of cases as against Delta Variant being more infectious to kids.

In a worrying number, Delta Variant, which now continues to wreck havoc in USA, is seen to impact children. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported nearly 94,000 cases in a week, only re-affirming that Delta variant can and does impact children.

Fact: For most cases, infectons in children remain mild to moderate

Yale Medicine, as per the information available, has informed that the Delta Variant infections among children varied from mild to moderate. Only in a few cases were the infections seen to trigger severe illness. Among kids, however, the concerning aspect is the possibility of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS – C. The condition requires hospitalization and can turn severe very quickly. About 2 confirmed cases were reported from India during the last phase of the second wave.

Fact: Children can spread the virus to family members

Another worrying concern has been that children may remain asymptomatic but act as carriers. An infected child – whether asymptomatic or symptomatic, can infect other family members. Doctors believe that many children could have been super-spreaders and even link reopening of schools as a reason for second wave. This, while possible, is not a confirmed fact.

Also Read | COVID19 THIRD WAVE: PRECAUTIONS FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE SHOULD FOLLOW

Delta Variant in kids: Symptoms

The symptoms of delta variant of COVID19 in kids is similar to that in adults.

  • Fever
  • Stomach upset with loose stool, diarrhea
  • Sore throat and runny nose
  • Loss of taste and smell

Preventing Kids from COVID19

As the world waits for safe vaccines for kids, it is important to remember that prevention continues to be better in case of COVID19. For kids too, it is hence extremely important to be safe. Here are a few steps parents need to take to keep their kids safe.

  • Inform the kids about the importance of masking in public places
  • Instruct and ensure proper hand hygiene
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Educate the children about social distancing
  • Ensure balanced diet rich in proteins for children
  • Follow COVID appropriate behavior yourself – remember, if you don’t do it, your kids wont.

In the end, it is important to accept that COVID-19 is not going to vanish tomorrow morning. We might be making strides but the battle between humans and this virus is far from over. Hence, it is important to stay alert, informed and protected. And this too shall pass.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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