Hyderabad: Children, one of the groups considered most vulnerable to Covid-19, seem to be bearing the brunt of the disease in the city. Even as Hyderabad witnesses a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases after the government began mass testing, a considerable number of children, aged below 15 years, were found to be infected. Data obtained from a reliable source showed that out of the 341 patients, who tested positive on June 18 and June 19, 17 were children. To make matters complicated, the source is still unknown in most of the cases, hinting at community transmission.
The grandfather of a 3-year-old Covid-19 patient told NewsMeter, “My elder son’s daughter was running high temperature. After approaching a private hospital in Jiyaguda, the doctors directed us to King Koti hospital. Now, three of my grandchildren are Covid positive and the source is still unknown,” he said.
Some of these children showed Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) and Influenza-Like Illness (ILI), which may prove fatal, if left uncared, undiagnosed and untreated. Doctors opine that in the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents prefer to treat the symptoms by themselves, because taking Covid-19 tests and managing the hassle that comes with it becomes traumatic for them, especially for those who are underprivileged.
“Any shortness of breath should be suspected as Covid-19 unless proven otherwise. We are amidst a pandemic, so keeping that in mind, parents should not brush aside symptoms like fever and shortness of breath, even if they say that is usual for the kid. Some have brought their children after their sickness has developed into pneumonia, which could have been avoided with early treatment. The key is not to wait for symptoms to get worse,” said Dr. Khizer Hussain Junaidy, a practising doctor at Gandhi Hospital and general secretary of Telangana Junior Doctors’ Association (TJUDA).
Most important symptoms to detect SARI in children include high fever, dry cough, chest discomfort or difficulty in breathing. “Other symptoms in kids that we need to look out for is severe headache, loose motions, vomiting, loss of consciousness, throwing a fit. Fever with rashes, red eyes, loss of sense of taste and smell can be found in relatively older children,” the doctor added.
The doctor also noted that asymptomatic parents have the potential to infect their children, in whom the symptoms may get worse due to poor immunity. For instance, take the case of two young boys from Tarnaka, who tested positive for Covid-19 with SARI symptoms. The mother of the boys said, “My father-in-law was suffering from hernia during the lockdown period. On doctor’s consultation, we took him to a corporate hospital in Hyderguda for surgery. Later, both my husband and his aged father tested Covid positive. The virus spread to my two sons. The elders are placed under home isolation and are asymptomatic,” she said.
“We can say that there is community transmission in the state because tracing the source of virus has become difficult. The immunity that children have is less compared to elders. Moreover, they are easily vulnerable and it is hard to practise strict isolation for them from parents. Early diagnosis, proper treatment and home quarantine is always better for children,” the doctor said.