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Symptoms and recommendations: how prolonged COVID manifests itself in children

The experts analyzed pooled data from 21 previously conducted studies in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America (Getty)
The experts analyzed pooled data from 21 previously conducted studies in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America (Getty)

The Long COVIDeither prolonged COVID, it is already a pathology that is detected in millions of people all over the planet. Because the sequelae of the infection do not depend on age, but on the condition itself. It is for this reason that experts began to detect this pathology in girls, boys and adolescentsespecially after they have recovered from the acute phase of the disease.

Based on pooled data from 21 previously conducted studies in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America, a quarter of children with symptoms of COVID-19 go on to develop prolonged or persistent COVID-19. It is for this reason that medical experts and health authorities give recommendations on what symptom must be taken into account to act on time.

To point out this behavior, the scientists analyzed 80,071 children with COVID-19, and that 25% developed symptoms that lasted at least 4-12 weeks or new persistent symptoms that appeared within 12 weeks. In this sense, the researchers (who published their work on the platform MedRxiv) stated that “until now, attention was mainly focused on the acute phase of the disease. However, once the acute phase of COVID-19 has ended, many individuals experience months of debilitating symptoms of COVID-19 that require additional medical care and follow-up.”

Of the 80,071 children with COVID-19 in studies reviewed by experts, 25% developed symptoms (Getty)
Of the 80,071 children with COVID-19 in studies reviewed by experts, 25% developed symptoms (Getty)

In this vein, the research that was led by Carol Perelman, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and directed by the Spanish Sonia Villapol, who works at the Weill Cornell Medical College, in the United States, in addition to scientists from the United States, Mexico, and the Carolina Institute of Sweden, stated that persistent COVID generates symptoms from 4 to 12 weeks after the acute period.

In the words of the experts, a frequent symptom is fatigue or dyspnea at least 3 months after the onset of the acute phase of the infection. The distribution of the syndrome can occur in all ages. The causes of the syndrome are not yet fully determined; although it is suspected that there may be persistence of the virus, that an inflammatory storm has been generated that produces the symptoms, and that there may be an alteration of immunity.

“Children and adolescents can have prolonged Covid, a syndrome that is still under study. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces the risk of multisystem inflammatory syndrome and prolonged COVID ”, he stated in dialogue with infobae Dr. Elizabeth Bogdanowicz, member of the board of directors of the Argentine Society of Pediatrics (SAP).

The causes of the syndrome are not yet fully determined: it is suspected that there may be persistence of the virus or that there may be an alteration of immunity / (Gettyimages)
The causes of the syndrome are not yet fully determined: it is suspected that there may be persistence of the virus or that there may be an alteration of immunity / (Gettyimages)

For her part, Dr. Cristina Calvo, head of the Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases Section at Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, and president of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, assured that persistent COVID must be considered “much less frequent.” in children than in adults, although it also exists.

In that tone, the Spanish expert added: “The symptom They are very varied, although they also resemble those of adults: tiredness, muscle aches, insomnia, apathy, concentration problems, fever sometimes, or abdominal pain, among others. They are very varied”; while Dr. Bogdanowicz completed: “The symptoms are very varied. They must be controlled over time on a case-by-case basis”.

“We found many children with symptoms, but they are also common in children who have not had COVID-19, with which other factors possibly related to confinement and the social situation may have a lot to do with it,” said Dr. Calvo about the work they carried out at the La Paz Hospital and at the Niño Jesús Hospital in Madrid, where they cared for more than 400 children.

So far there is no specific treatment for prolonged COVID (Getty)
So far there is no specific treatment for prolonged COVID (Getty)

“When a child has had symptoms for more than a month, we have to start thinking about these symptoms, although persistent COVID is considered to be one that has at least one symptom that lasts 12 weeks and has no other cause or explanation,” the expert pointed out. Spanish.

As he indicated, at the moment there is no specific treatment for prolonged COVID. While when pointing out the approach to the pathology in children, she advised a broad approach, with a study dedicated to each child. It is that for the specialist, a recovery plan must be made, gradually, without really needing a specific treatment, but rather support. “The evolution is good, although dilated in time. It is important to reassure patients and families and explain that little by little the symptoms will disappear ”, she explained.

In the Argentinaaccording to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health of the Nation prepared with the participation of the Argentine Society of Pediatrics, the approach to each case of children or adolescents with long-term Covid is carried out “according to the clinical manifestations of the disease and is interdisciplinary. There is no specific treatment available.

In Argentina, the approach to each pediatric case is carried out
In Argentina, the approach to each pediatric case is carried out “according to the clinical manifestations of the disease and is interdisciplinary” / REUTERS/Mayela Lopez

Given this scenario, the experts recommended that health professionals provide families and caregivers with “suggestions on healthy habits, self-control of symptoms, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, psychotherapy, gradual prescription of therapeutic exercise, among other interventions.” There are also questionnaires that allow the evaluation of the characteristics of the patients and are useful for the support and follow-up of the symptoms and prognosis of the disease.

In addition, they recommended prevention measures that can protect children from prolonged COVID, such as vaccination. Another aspect is the proper use of the chinstrap, distancing and ventilation, since at times of disease outbreak it was shown that they prevent infection.

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