Treating COVID in Kids
COVID-19 has affected the entire world and has changed the way we perceive cleanliness, illness and even just going out in public. The school year was disrupted (among many other things) and kids were forced to learn from home, far from the familiarity of the school environment, and away from their friends.
This precaution was taken to safeguard kids against contracting coronavirus and spreading it on the playground, or more likely, in tightly packed classrooms. Then, schools were of the first communal buildings to reopen, so as not to affect the school year calendar too irreparably. Parents were assured that children were less susceptible to the virus and that schools had to take the necessary precautions to keep kids safe.
As a rule, in the quest to prevent new infections, if your child has a mild illness, it is recommended that you isolate him/her at home, advises Children’s Mercy. Consider using treatments that you would use for the common cold, including fever reducers (ibuprofen and acetaminophen), humidified air, and cough suppressants for age-appropriate children. Not all corona symptoms point to coronavirus infection. Not all children will be tested for COVID-19. Most children have mild signs or no symptoms at all.
Why do children react differently to COVID-19?
Even though there is extensive research going into the behaviour of COVID-19, it is still unclear why children are either unaffected or have mild symptoms compared to adults. Some experts suggest that children might not be as severely affected by COVID-19 because other coronaviruses spread in the community and cause diseases such as the common cold, says Mayo Clinic. Children are in fact more likely to get different types of coronavirus all through the year. They also get loads of colds and sniffles from regularly playing with each other and sharing snacks etc. It is believed that their immune systems might be primed to provide them with some protection against COVID-19.
It’s also possible that children’s immune systems interact with the virus differently than do adults’ immune systems; the clinic continues. An adult’s immune system seems to overreact to the virus because we get sick less often (we are more cautious of who we interact with and spend less time in close proximity to others). This overreaction actually causes more damage to adult bodies.
But of course, there are still cases where children have been infected with the virus and need some extra TLC. So, how does one treat a child who has COVID-19?
Before we tackle the physical symptoms of COVID-19, be sure to show the child emotional support. The media, the school and probably every grown-up they know have warned of the dangers of having coronavirus so that the child might be scared and a little confused at what to expect.
Guide your child through the process by explaining that even though they have coronavirus, they have done nothing wrong and will get through it, just like with any flu or illnesses they may have had in the past. Ask them about any fears they may have. Your child might also have many misconceptions about the coronavirus.
Also, explain that the reason they cannot see their friends is to ensure that they don’t pass the virus on to anyone. Be sure to emphasise that the isolation is temporary and that they will start feeling better if they take their meds and rest. Also, if they want, loads of hugs and reassurance can do a world of good in keeping up their morale.
COVID-19 Nasal Swab Testing
Supporting your child during the very intrusive test could be difficult for you as a parent, but you must be brave for them. If you look scared, the chances are that your child will be reluctant to do the test. There are many videos online that you could watch with your child to ease the transition into getting the test for both of you. It may look scary, but the test isn’t painful. A cotton swab is used to get a sample from the back of the nose. It is uncomfortable but safe and quick.
Treat the symptoms
Most kids who have been infected with coronavirus may have had underlying conditions that left their immune system compromised, but this may not always have been the case. Regardless, getting a child-friendly immune booster like Gummy Vites and the like is the first step to getting your child healthy again.
Coronavirus presents differently in each person, but the common ailments are a sore throat, tight chest and general flu symptoms. Some people have complained of less likely symptoms like diarrhoea and headaches as well as anosmia (lack of smell) and a lack of taste.
As you would if they had the common flu, get child-friendly medicine to combat each symptom. Paracetamol is the most used over the counter pain reliever for children. This is found in drugs like Panadol – having medical insurance like Affinity Health will definitely make getting prescription meds accessible and affordable.
There are also loads of cleverly designed throat lozenges that look like lollipops to encourage kids to get the meds into their bodies.
When it comes to diarrhoea, most doctors advise that parents let the germs run though the system, but be sure to keep your child hydrated. Rehydrate is a popular electrolyte supplement, but there are many options on the market.
Cough medicines are also readily available. Try using balms and eucalyptus-enriched ointments too ease breathing. For smaller babies, mix these ointments with castor oil before you rub them onto the body. The eucalyptus may be overwhelming for narrow nasal passages. Never rub ointment near a baby or child’s nostrils. Chest, back and feet only!
As much as medicine can ease the symptoms, be sure to feed your kids a diet filled with nutritional, but still tasty food. Vitamins and minerals in delicious fruits can only do good!
Remember always to call your physician to guide you regarding which medicines are right for your child and what the best foods are to keep their immune systems healthy and fighting coronavirus.
Also, if they have a sore throat, feed them soft foods like jelly, soup (not too hot) and other easily swallowed foods.