AIIMS Chief On The Prevalence Of Omicron Among Children: “They’re Getting Severe Diseases”

With an increasing number of children getting COVID in the new wave, AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria stressed the importance of learning how Omicron affects the children. He said that concern has always been there as the younger children are not vaccinated, stressing that so many of the youngsters are now having more severe infections.

“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, ” Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director of AIIMS, New Delhi, said during a seminar.

Why are more children getting diagnosed with Omicron?

The Omicron is more contagious and goes against R nought values, which gives some insight into how contagious it is and how easily it can spread. It has been calculated by many groups to be considerably higher than what was found in the Delta and the original virus. It’s thought to be more than seven, with some studies estimating it to be close to ten or even more than ten. And in that circumstance, it resembles measles, a very contagious disease that we commonly encounter in children. Rakesh Lodha, Professor and Head of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at AIIMS, stated.

Are they severely affected?

Children have a higher response to the infection. Additionally, if the lung is involved, the paediatric alveolar epitheliun’s strong regeneration capacity will help in a faster and more complete recovery. Furthermore, risk factors such as different comorbidities present in adults and the elderly, such as smoking and diabetes, are less prevalent in children. As a result, all of these factors contribute to children suffering from less severe sickness, according to Lodha. And, as he noted, absolute numbers are expected to rise as the country’s cumulative total number of instances rises.

Symptoms, treatments, and danger signs in children as per COVID-19 guidelines.

Fever, sore throat, rhinorrhea, and cough are mild symptoms.
Treatment: Home isolation with paracetamol doses of 10-15 mg/kg/dose, which may be repeated every 4-6 hours. Warm saline gargles, proper diet, and fluids in older children.
Antibiotics, steroids, molnupiravir, fluvoxamine, sortrovimab, and other cough suppressants are not advised.
Breathing problems, blue fingers or face, chest pain, new perplexity, inability to drink or keep down any liquids, and lack of interaction when awake are all danger signs.