Children aged 5 years or less don't need to wear masks, while those in 6-11 age group can with parents' supervision
Children aged 12 years or above have to wear masks like adults
The recent guidelines for Covid management in children clarifies on the need for masks in the population below 18 years of age. The guidelines, released by Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), also sets parameters for Covid-related tests and medication to be followed in the case of children.
The new guidelines state that children aged 5 years or less are not required to wear masks. Those in the age group of 6-11 years may wear a mask depending on their ability to use a mask safely and appropriately under direct supervision of parents or guardians. Children aged 12-17 years should wear the masks the same way as adults.
The guidelines reiterate that hands should be kept clean with soap and water, or an alcohol based hand rub while handling masks.
The guidelines also directed that children below the age of 18 years should not be given Remdesivir for treatment of Covid-19. DGHS also prohibited use of antimicrobials for treating the infection as they have no role in prevention or cure of viral infections like Covid-19.
The guidelines also cautioned against using steroids in asymptomatic or mild cases of Covid-19 in children. For moderately or critically ill children, steroids could be used under strict supervision. The guidelines strict prohibited self-medication of steroids.
It must be remembered that steroids prolong viral shedding and hence caution is required in their use, DGHS stated in its Covid guidelines for children. It also listed the recommended doses of anti-coagulants.
The guidelines prescribed a 6-minute walk test with a pulse oximeter to check for oxygen levels and signs of hypoxia in children. It also called for rational use of high resolution CT (HRCT) scan in children, urging doctors to practise caution while recommending chest CT scans for younger patients.