LONG COVID in babies and children

Writing my blog on COVID-19 in babies and children, I did not anticipant it to be shared tens of thousands of times and read by over 100,000 of parents. The huge reach demonstrates the extreme level of concern in the community about little ones and COVID19.

The level of anxiety and panic is palpable. I am here to alleviate fear, dispel myths and provide reassurance to parents of little ones who are feeling so unsure, anxious, uncertain, worried (or all of the above). I aim to create some calm amongst all of the chaos.

I find it utterly heartbreaking that majority of parents are feeling this way. Therefore, I will continue to provide evidence-based information on covid in children coupled with my experience as a Paediatric Emergency Nurse. As always, I am unable to provide specific advice, only general advice.

A common question that I received was about long COVID and the long-term effects of COVID on children.

This is not something that I have personal or professional experience with, so I have spent hours researching the latest evidence. I have summarised it all in this blog so that it is easy to read and understand.

Reassuringly, data suggests, long COVID is less common in children and adults in comparison to adults. I have referenced two studies, one here in Melbourne and one in the UK.

A study was completed of 171 children with COVID-19 in Melbourne. The average age of the children in this study was 3 years old. The results of this study demonstrate that the most common post-acute COVID-19 symptoms were mild post-viral cough (4% of children). Fatigue was reported in 2% of children and fatigue and cough was reported in 1% of children. The duration of post-viral cough ranged from 3 weeks to 8 weeks and of post-viral fatigue ranged from 6 weeks to 8 weeks from the time of symptom onset. At the most recent review in March, 2021, all 151 children had returned to their baseline health status and post-acute COVID-19 symptoms had resolved. Follow-up data for 20 children were not available.

A study of 1734 school age Children in the UK found that 4·4% of children who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 had symptoms lasting greater than 28 days.

1·8% of children testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 have symptoms beyond 56 days.

The most common symptoms in these children over their entire illness were anosmia (loss of smell), headache, sore throat and fatigue.

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) is the largest child health research institute in Australia. MCRI Professor Nigel Curtis states:

“Current studies lack a clear case definition and age-related data, have variable follow-up times, and rely on self- or parent-reported symptoms without a lab confirmation,” he said. “Another significant problem is that many studies have low response rates meaning they might overestimate the risk of long COVID.”

In summary, the research that has been conducted thus far on long COVID in the paediatric population is limited, but reassuring.

I strongly consider you taking part in a study if you are given the option. Participating in studies assists researchers to continue to analyse and develop much needed evidence to guide our practice.

If you missed my blog on COVID in Infants + Children, you can read it here.

If you need a refresher on your first aid training please get in touch, we would be privileged to educate and empower you.

I can be contacted via email hello@rhythmfirstaid.com.au


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