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Long Covid-19 and children; what you should know?


People wearing face masks cross a road amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore. — Reuters/File

Researchers found in their new study that children are not likely to develop long Covid compared to adults who can experience months-lasting symptoms after contracting the infection, leading to a number of health difficulties. 

This led to concern about the well-being of children, were they to develop long Covid, and its adverse impacts on their health. But this concern was eased as the study revealed that not all the kids may develop this long Covid.

The study published in Jama Paediatrics noted that the rate of long Covid is incredibly rare in children.

For the research, experts analysed data from 1,026 children with a mean age of 10.5 years and suggested parents to observe the symptoms every two weeks for 76 weeks.

Children who experienced a positive PCR test for a Covid-19 infection, new symptoms that started three months after a positive PCR test for the virus, and signs that lasted for at least eight weeks after they started were considered to have long-Covid.

If four weeks without symptoms passed, then they were considered resolved.

After having Covid-19, the common signs included a sore throat (68%), stuffy nose (62%), headache (52%), cough (42%), fever (42%) and fatigue (35%).

On the other hand, researchers discovered that these symptoms started to become better within 10 weeks after a positive PCR test.

In the research, only one child was found to have met the conditions of long Covid explained by the World Health Organization.

For having long Covid, the symptoms must last for two months after the initial infection, according to WHO.

Researchers in their study maintained that long Covid numbers were “strikingly low” in the children, noting that “most children experienced a resolution of symptoms within two weeks of infection.”

Dr William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life, said: “The symptoms these children had were also relatively minor compared to the spectrum of symptoms of long Covid in adults.”

“Those can include brain fog, aches and pains, and a real inability to be able to function in society.”

Infectious disease expert Dr Amesh A Adalja told Yahoo Life that “it’s been clear for some time that long Covid is not a very common occurrence in children.”

According to Schaffner, this doesn’t mean that families shouldn’t take precautions against Covid-19. He emphasised the importance of getting kids the new updated Covid-19 vaccine.

“We know that vaccination not only prevents severe Covid, it contributes to a reduction in long Covid,” he stated.

“I wouldn’t allow this one study all by itself to discourage you from vaccinating your children.”

Adalja also told parents to monitor their children’s symptoms after they recover from the disease, if they happen to get the virus.

“If a child does experience symptoms three months after recovery, [you] can try and make an appointment with a long Covid clinic,” he says. But Adalja says this isn’t something most parents will need to worry about.

“Parents should be reassured that long Covid, while a societal problem, [is] not a very major pediatric problem,” noted.



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