How Covid pandemic can have severe effect on children’s mental, physical health

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The current coronavirus pandemic situation can have severe effects on children’s mental and physical health, Dr Praveen Kumar, Director, Department of Paediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College, has said.

“Pandemic can have a severe effect on children’s mental and physical health. They are confined at home for more than a year. Moreover, illnesses in the family, wage losses for parents have increased stress. Children may express psychological distress (sadness) by acting out in a different way each child behaves differently. Some may become silent while others may express anger and hyperactivity,” Dr Kumar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.


Dr Kumar also cautioned that caregivers need to be patient with children and understand their emotions.

“Look for signs of stress in young children, which could be excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, and difficulty with attention and concentration. Families also need to support children to cope with stress and also allay their anxiety,” he added.

Speaking about the effect of future waves on Children, Lady Hardinge doctor said, “COVID-19 is a new virus that has the potential to mutate. Whether the future waves will affect children more or with increased severity are speculations. People speculate that future waves may affect children more as most of the adults will be vaccinated in the next few months while we do not have any approved vaccine for children at this point in time.”


Vaccine for pregnant women will protect foetus

Dr Kumar said COVID Vaccine for pregnant women and lactating mothers will protect the growing foetus and newborn against the deadly infection.

On the impact of COVID-19 second wave on Children, he further said it had affected equally compared to adults. “COVID-19 is a new virus and it affects all age groups because we do not have natural immunity against this virus. As per the NCDC/IDSP dashboard, approximately 12 per cent of infected COVID was contributed by patients less than 20 years of age.”

As per Dr Kumar, recent surveys have shown similar seropositivity in children and adults. However, due to a larger number of people affected during the second wave number of infected children were also more as compared to the first wave. So far, the mortality rate in children is lower as compared to adults and is usually seen in children with comorbidities.

Meanwhile, according to a study published in The Lancet, over 1.5 million children in 21 countries, including 1,19,000 from India, lost their primary and secondary caregivers to COVID-19 during the first 14 months of the pandemic.

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