COVID-19 in Newborns and Children FAQ by Parents

BY: Dr K Seshagiri - 21 May-2021

The second wave of COVID-19 affected a large number of people in India; unlike the first wave, it affected all age groups including infants and children. There are a lot of questions asked by parents in OPD, here are answers for few common questions by Dr K Seshagiri, MD, DM (Neonatology), Chief Consultant Neonatologist, Giggles by OMNI, Visakhapatnam
 

Do children get COVID-19 infection?

Yes, like adult’s children, infants and even newborns will get infected if exposed to family members who are having COVID, contributing to almost 12% of all cases. More cases reported in children more than 10 years (9%) compared to children less than 10 years (3%).

 

Why children are less severely affected?

Children have a strong innate immune response compared to adults. Expression of ACE 2 receptors varies in children. Excellent regeneration capacity and absence of comorbidities protect children from severe disease.

 

What are the common symptoms in children?

Fever, cough, cold, sore throat, shortness of breath, are common. Few may present with vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain or skin rashes also. 

 

When a child is tested positive for COVID-19, what should the parents do?

Please consult a Paediatrician, most of the cases are mild all they require is symptomatic treatment and monitoring (clinical & laboratory). Moderate or sick cases only need admission for further management.

 

Pregnant mother at delivery if positive for COVID-19, how to take care of the baby?

Vertical transmission of COVID-19 from the mother to baby is rare. If the mother and baby both are stable, the mother can breastfeed the baby with proper hand hygiene, use of gowns and mask, proper cleaning. Mother and baby can be kept in the same room with physical distancing and other precautions.

 

What are the symptoms in Newborn if develops COVID-19?

Most of them are stable and asymptomatic, very few develop fever, respiratory distress, dehydration, shock, cardiac failure, renal failure and multi-organ failure. If they are sick should be cared for in the “COVID positive area” in NICU.

 

Can routine vaccines be given to babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers?

Yes, we have to follow a routine immunization schedule like any other baby 

 

What extra precautions are taken for the baby after discharge?

Baby should not be handled by multiple people and correct masking and hand hygiene by mother and other family members should be followed. Good hygiene, a clean environment and natural ventilation/light for mother and baby are important.

 

A 2 years old child had COVID one month back, recovered completely now again developed fever, redness of eyes and rash. What should the parents do?

Yes, they should consult your Paediatrician. There is a recently emerging medical condition called MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children). This condition presents in the children who recovered from asymptomatic or symptomatic COVID-19 with fever, rash, conjunctivitis, heart failure and gastrointestinal system. These children need admission, evaluation and treatment. Usually, they recover with good treatment.

 

When will kids be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Trails are underway for the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccines in children as young as 6 months. Once they are approved for paediatric use by the concerned authorities, they will be available for vaccination for the children.  

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