COVID-19 in children in 10 questions
Sleep disorders such as falling asleep late, short naps during the day, and waking up frequently in the middle of the night can be observed in babies and children. Pointing out that parents can overcome sleep problems in babies aged 0-3 with a careful and patient process, Anadolu Health Center Child Health and Diseases Specialist Dr. Esra Kutlu said, “When teaching babies to sleep on their own, we should not forget that crying is a very natural reaction. “However, if we stand by them and support them while they cry, the bond of trust and love we will establish will not be damaged,” he said. Dr. Esra Kutlu gave important information on the subject… The causes of sleep disorders may be environmental or baby factors. The temperature of the room (should be 16-22 degrees), humidity (should be between 40-60 percent), light (it should be dark or dimly lit), folding the sheets, overfeeding the child before sleep, some medications (such as antihistamines, cold medicines), the baby’s Causes such as inconsistency in the sleep practices of caregivers, maternal stress level and pregnancy depression are environmental factors. Factors related to the baby are; dry skin (tightening and itching), reflux, allergic rhinitis, colic, teething, adenoid enlargement, sleep apnea, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, asthma, autism, obesity and iron deficiency anemia.
What are the differences between influenza and COVID-19?
The current Influenza A epidemic may cause a more severe condition in children than COVID-19. High fever, runny nose and cough can be more severe, and abdominal pain is also common. In COVID-19, runny nose and mild cough are common and the disease may be milder. However, these symptoms may vary depending on the sick child and the amount of virus he/she ingests. Since many of the symptoms of influenza and COVID-19 are the same, we recommend testing. The rapid antigen test for influenza gives results in 2 hours and is easy to perform and low cost. For COVID-19, a PCR test gives more accurate results.
How much have the COVID-19 and influenza rates in children increased recently?
Although both of them have been seen quite frequently in the last month, we can say that influenza is more common.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 (Delta and Omicron) in children?
Currently, 75 percent of the PCR tests performed in our hospital show the Omicron variant, and the rest show the Delta variant. The Omicron variant has come to the fore and the symptoms of this variant are milder than Delta, generally just like a cold.
How is COVID-19 treated in children? Can medication be used?
We only provide supportive treatment in children with COVID-19. We give paracetamol for fever and herbal cough syrups for cough. We recommend keeping the nose open at all times, cleaning it regularly with physiological saline, and taking plenty of vitamin C naturally.
What precautions can be taken to prevent the disease? Should supplements, vitamins, etc. be taken during the epidemic?
We recommend that children over 1 year of age take vitamin D only during the winter months. We give vitamin D in the form of drops to children under 1 year old. The dose to be given to each child is different. It is important to consult a doctor on this matter.
What should be paid attention to at school and at home?
At school, it is necessary to pay attention to mask and distance, as well as ventilation of classrooms and the school. Distance should be taken into account in cafeteria conditions, especially since masks will come off while eating. At home, the rooms should also be ventilated. Items such as cups, towels and pillows should not be shared. People with COVID-19 should be isolated in a separate room at home.
What advice do you have for parents?
I recommend that they educate their children about COVID-19, especially about protection measures.
Who should definitely get the COVID-19 vaccine?
As defined in our country, I recommend that everyone over the age of 12 and whose vaccination is defined in the e-pulse system be vaccinated. Except, of course, for patients whose doctors prevent them from getting vaccinated. If mask, distance and vaccine are applied together, we can be protected from COVID-19. Unfortunately, when any of them is missing, our chance of protection from the disease decreases greatly.
Is there a certain risk group that can cause severe COVID-19 in children?
Again, as in adults, those with an underlying chronic disease, those with allergic bronchitis, those using immunosuppressive drugs, cancer and rheumatology patients have a high risk of severe COVID-19.
Which vaccine should be preferred in children?
Children should be vaccinated as soon as they are 12 years old and defined in e-pulse. It would be beneficial for them to get vaccinated without wasting too much time to avoid catching the disease. Biontech should be preferred as a vaccine for children, because it is the most tested and effective vaccine in the world and is applied in our country. No serious side effects in children have been reported worldwide due to Biontech.