It has been clear for some time that cases of post-COVID, also known as prolonged COVID, appear more commonly in adults than in children, but the true incidence of prolonged COVID in children was unknown. However, the file International Study It has finally shed some light on the number of children with COVID for a long time, and COVID patients among the children most at risk.
Researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada examined data collected from 36 emergency departments in eight countries. Families of 1,884 children who tested positive for COVID while in the emergency room after 90 days were contacted and asked about post-COVID cases – defined as “persistent, new, or recurring symptoms or health problems” related to the condition that led them to the emergency department .
Overall, 5.8% of children who tested positive for COVID have reported post-COVID cases. Rates were higher in children who ended up in hospital for 48 hours or more, who reported four or more symptoms at their initial visit to the emergency department, or who were 14 years and older.
Nearly 9.8% of children hospitalized for 48 hours or more reported post-COVID cases, while 4.6% of those discharged from the emergency room reported post-COVID issues. The researchers also found that children who were hospitalized and experienced “serious outcomes” within 14 days were more likely to report symptoms after 90 days than children in hospital with less serious illness.
The most common symptoms reported among children were fatigue or weakness, followed by coughing and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. All of these symptoms are also commonly reported symptoms grown ups With post-COVID conditions.
“Our results suggest that appropriate guidance and follow-up is needed, especially for children who are at long-term risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Dr. Stephen Friedman, the study’s lead author. statement.
“Our finding that children who had multiple symptoms of COVID-19 were initially at increased risk of developing COVID-19 for a prolonged period is consistent with studies in adults,” said study co-lead researcher Dr Todd Florin.
“Unfortunately, there are no known treatments for long-term COVID-19 in children and more research is needed in this area,” Florin said. “However, if the symptoms are significant, treatment that targets the symptoms is even more important.”
It should be noted that all children enrolled in the study were brought to emergency departments, so they may have been at greater risk of serious symptoms. It’s also possible that some children were brought to the emergency room with an unrelated problem and tested positive for COVID while they were there. Regardless, the study shows that children who were sicker, as indicated by their hospitalization or the number of symptoms they reported, were more likely to report post-COVID cases after 90 days.
Researchers followed up on a separate group of children who were seen in the emergency room but tested negative for COVID, and some of these children (5% of those admitted to hospital and 2.7% of those discharged from the emergency room) also reported symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. . Breathing 90 days after seeing them in the emergency department.
Data from the study shows that post-COVID cases like this were reported almost twice as often among children who tested positive for COVID, compared to children who tested negative.
What does all this mean for parents
“Because of this study, we may be able to predict children who are at risk of contracting Covid for an extended period,” Dr. Candice Jones, a board-certified pediatrician who is not affiliated with the study, told HuffPost.
Jones also noted that the rate of post-COVID cases in children that researchers found is much lower than the rate among adult patients.
In addition to hand washing and masking, vaccination protects children from all risks associated with COVID. COVID vaccines are now available to all children 6 months of age and older. Millions of children in the United States have received COVID vaccines, both Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics Safe and effective note.
“We know that vaccination can prevent COVID infection, prevent severe illness, prevent hospitalization and death — and thus reduce the risk of a child contracting COVID for a prolonged period,” Jones said.
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