New Covid guidelines for children: A doctor highlights key points

Written by Dr Suresh Birajdar

Like adults, even children are at risk of getting infected with Coronavirus. This is why it is imperative to follow the guidelines issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), along with following masking, social distancing, and hand sanitising.

*Kids below 5 years need not wear a mask. However, it is essential for children belonging to the age group of 6-11 years to wear a mask under the supervision of parents or other family members. Earlier, children below two were not recommended to wear masks.

*There is no data available regarding the safety and efficacy of Remdesivir in children below 18, so it is essential to avoid its usage in kids. HRCT (high-resolution of the chest) chest scan should only be done when one’s symptoms tend to worsen.

*Children who are on medication for any other ailments must continue taking them. Using steroids and anti-coagulants should be done only under strict medical supervision in the hospital. Do not use them at home without the doctor’s knowledge.

*As per the guidelines, parents need to take care of their young infants and children. Those who are infected should strictly follow Covid measures like masking, hand hygiene, and social distancing. Give your children oral fluids to stay hydrated and see to it that they eat a well-balanced diet consisting of all the essential nutrients.

*Older children need to stay connected with the family and engage in positive talks via phone, video calls. In case the symptoms worsen, then the family members must immediately contact the doctor and do as the expert says.

*Severely sick children should be administered oxygen therapy on an immediate basis, but only after consulting an expert. Also, maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, especially oral fluids (breastfeeds when it comes to infants) or starting intravenous fluid therapy if oral intake is poor is a must.

*A child can be given paracetamol as per the doctor’s recommendation. Anti-microbials can be given in case of bacterial infection, and care for comorbid conditions, if any.

The author is a neonatologist and paediatrician with Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar.

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