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I wish you all the very best,
This week the government has announced the further easing of lockdown restrictions and many of us will be reconnecting with our friends and loved ones, from a safe distance. I understand that this also leads to concern for many and so it seems a good time to have a recap of information and advice relating to children and COVID-19.
All the information remains reassuring relating to illness in children.
Does COVID-19 affect children?
Reassuringly, the statistics today still show that children are at a very minimal risk of being infected with COVID-19. Children make up approximately 2% of all reported cases and those who do develop COVID-19 have milder symptoms than adults with severe illness being very rare in children.
Can children transmit COVID-19 to others?
The ability of children to transmit the virus is difficult to ascertain, but studies suggest that transmission from children may be low. This is great news but we should still keep an eye out for any symptoms that your child might be showing to keep everyone safe.
What are the symptoms of the virus in children?
Most children have no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
- Cough and fever are the most common symptoms.
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Aching muscles
- Headache and dizziness have also been reported.
Differentiating COVID-19 from other childhood infections and illnesses is very important. Always seek advice from your paediatrician if you’re worried about your child’s health.
In a previous post I discussed the multi-system inflammatory syndrome that has features in common with other well-recognised inflammatory conditions that affect children such as Kawasaki disease. This syndrome is now known as paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 (PIMS). There is published guidance on how this is managed and again reassuringly numbers of children affected have been very small.
The data and content referred to in this post is based on a recent excellent news summary available for doctors through doctors.net.uk that cites the most recent medical studies available.
What extra safety precautions are being taken in clinics?
Many parents have enquired about whether it is safe to bring children to clinics and hospitals. Within the hospital clinics where I practice, strict precautions have been introduced for your safety and reassurance. The specific precautions are set by each hospital and may vary, but can include the following:
- A longer time allocation between appointments to reduce congestion in waiting areas.
- All attendees at the clinic have their hands sanitised and are given a face mask to wear on arrival at the clinic.
- Screening of all parents and children attending the clinic with questions regarding recent symptoms of the virus, including a temperature check before entering the clinic.
- Only one parent per child is permitted entry into the clinic. I understand this is difficult for families, but hopefully it is a reassurance to all that numbers are limited as far as possible in the clinic.
- Nursing and administrative staff are wearing face masks.
- During consultations, I continue to wear a surgical mask, gloves and gown for our mutual protection.
On a lighter note!
I would like to thank Charles aged 3 years, for his wonderful drawing and thank you to his parents for letting me share it with you all. Finding the drawing in my clinic at the start of a busy day really lifted my spirits. Thank you Charles!
Useful Resources For Further Information:
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH): Advice relating to the use of Ibuprofen in children with fever.
- Flow chart to advise parents when to seek medical advice if their child is unwell.
- NHS latest Covid-19 updates.
- Great Ormond Street Hospital Covid 19 summary.
- Key messages for parents relating to Covid 19.
- NHS Coronavirus and children.
- Guidance – Paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 (PIMS)