Dr Faisel Baig, father of two, local GP and Chair of North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, has given the following advice for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic:
As the Government guides us through the next phase of our national coronavirus Covid-19 response, this could include plans for some local schools to reopen to more pupils. Just like me, you will understandably be thinking even more about your children and whether Covid-19 poses a risk to them.
We are still learning a lot about Covid-19 and what we know so far could change, as national and international research continues at pace.
Covid-19 has been reported in children and young people of all ages, including shortly after birth. However, there have been much smaller numbers of confirmed infections in children and young people with reports suggesting that children make up less than two percent of the total confirmed cases.
Most children infected with Covid-19 display mild symptoms, if any symptoms at all, and severe disease is uncommon in children. It is thought that the mortality rate in children from Covid-19 is similar to the rate seen in seasonal flu, which is approximately 0.01%.
We cannot say how likely children are to pass the infection on to others but there is no clear evidence to suggest that they are more likely to pass the disease on than adults are.
There have been worldwide reports of children presenting to hospitals with symptoms of toxic shock and a condition called Kawasaki disease and it is possible that this has been due to an immune reaction to Covid-19, possibly weeks after the actual infection. These children have generally presented with persistent fever, tummy pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, skin rashes and cold hands or feet. The condition has been named paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome. We are still learning a lot about this rare condition and its potential link to Covid-19.
The most common symptoms of Covid-19 in children are: fever, cough, loss of smell or taste (in children old enough to report this), sore throat, runny nose, diarrhoea and vomiting. It is very difficult to distinguish Covid-19 symptoms from the usual respiratory infection symptoms.
Covid-19 advice can be sought through NHS 111 online (for children over 5) or by calling 111 (for children under 5) but (as per www.nhs.uk):
Please call 111 or your GP surgery immediately if your child:
-is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a fever
-is 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a fever
-has other signs of illness, such as a rash, as well as a high temperature
-has a high temperature that’s lasted for 5 days or more
-does not want to eat, or is not their usual self and you are worried
-has a high temperature that does not come down with paracetamol
-is dehydrated – for example, nappies are not very wet, sunken eyes, and no tears when they’re crying
Call 999 if your child:
-has a stiff neck
-has a rash that does not fade when you press a glass against it
-is bothered by light
-has a seizure or fit for the first time
-has unusually cold hands and feet
-has pale, blotchy, blue or grey skin
-has a weak, high-pitched cry that’s not like their usual cry
-is drowsy and hard to wake
-is extremely agitated (does not stop crying) or is confused
-finds it hard to breathe and sucks their stomach in under their ribs
-has a soft spot on their head that curves outwards
-is not responding like they usually do, or not interested in feeding or usual activities
Please do not hesitate to contact your NHS if you have a poorly child – we are here for you.
Dr Faisel Baig