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AIIMS chief on Omicron among children: ‘They are getting severe diseases’. Know symptoms, danger signs

The Omicron is clearly more contagious and against the values of R nought, which kind of gives an idea about how contagious it is, how easily it can spread. (AP)Premium
The Omicron is clearly more contagious and against the values of R nought, which kind of gives an idea about how contagious it is, how easily it can spread. (AP)

  • The concern has always been there as the younger children are not vaccinated and they are really getting more severe diseases, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said

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With more and more children contracting COVID in the current wave, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria pointed out it is important to know how Omicron is affecting the children. Noting that many of them are now getting more severe diseases, he asserted, “concern has always been there as the younger children are not vaccinated."

This comes at a time when seven children in Delhi, who had contracted coronavirus, died between January 9 and January 12. Delhi government said that they had chronic issues.

“There is also been a lot of concern about the severity of illness in children in this current wave with some reports from hospitals in the US claiming that they are seeing an increased number of children being admitted. So I think it is important to clarify, how is the current Omicron behaving as far as children are concerned," AIIMS, New Delhi, Director Dr Randeep Guleria said during a Webinar.

Why are more children getting Omicron?

The Omicron is clearly more contagious and against the values of R nought, which kind of gives an idea about how contagious it is, how easily it can spread. Various groups have estimated it to be much higher than what was there for delta and for the original virus. It's believed to be more than seven, some groups have estimated even to be close to 10 or more than 10. And in that scenario, it comes close to measles which is a highly contagious disease that we see children, Dr Rakesh Lodha, Head, Professor, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, AIIMS asserted

Are they severely affected?

Children respond to the virus in a better way. In addition, if the lung gets involved, then the excellent regeneration capacity of the pediatric alveolar epitheliun would help in a more rapid and more complete recovery. And the absence of risk factors like various comorbidities that we see in adults and elderly like smoking and diabetes are obviously less seen in children. So all of these contribute to less severe disease in children, Lodha said. And, he further pointed out, absolute numbers are likely to go up as the cumulative or the total number of cases increase in the country.

Symptoms of Covid-19 in children and treatment according to guidelines

Mild symptoms: Fever, sore throat, rhinorrhea, cough.

Treatment: Home isolation, paracetamol 10-15mg/kg/dose, may repeat every 4-6 hours. Warm saline gargles in older children, adequate nutrition and hydration.

Cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids, molnupiravir, fluvoxamine, sortrovimab etc., are not indicated

Danger signs: Difficulty in breathing, blue ips or face, chest pain, new confusion, inability to drink or keep down any liquids, not interacting when awake

(With inputs from agencies)

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