Kids get Covid and kids spread Covid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 90% of Covid cases were missed in children over the last year! Cases get missed because kids typically do not present the same way as adults with this infection. There is also a very short window for testing in children—likely 2 days—to detect the infection. For most kids, the illness appears mild with congestion, stuffy nose and sneezing only for a few days. Although some kids may present with a myriad of adult symptoms. The good news has been less than 1 % of kids under the age of 18 end up in the hospital. Yet, thousands of kids have died from Covid-19 and many more continue to suffer from long term complications!
Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome was discovered only a year ago when kids had a 50-50% chance of ending up in the Intensive Care Unit. Three to four weeks after a mild case of Covid, kids developed inflammation in various organ systems which in many cases was life threatening or life altering with heart, lung and brain involvement. A curious change has occurred over the last few months. Kids coming into the hospital emergency department are now having an 80-90% chance of requiring intensive care due to septic shock related to a previous mild Covid illness. Many kids need long term care following a mild covid infection related to neurological damage from the virus. For example, will a teenager no longer able to walk due brain inflammation be able to rehab and walk again?
As kids are resuming physical activity we have noticed that many are having a hard time. At first, they appear de-conditioned and out-of-shape but it may be more than that. If your child has had symptoms from Covid previously then it is recommended that they have an evaluation by a cardiologist prior to resuming sports! Long haul Covid causes inflammation around vital organs such as the heart or lungs. A simple exam by a cardiologist and possibly an EKG can alert you to a potentially dangerous condition before it is an emergency situation.
SARS-CoV2 is causing illness unlike any other pediatric disease and this virus continues to evolve. Only time will give us the answers we are seeking. What we are learning from the United Kingdom is the rate may be as high as 10% of those children infected with Covid do not get better! They develop long haul covid. They may experience headaches similar to a migraine, shortness of breath, hair loss, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and low energy.
We cannot predict this virus so we must protect ourselves and our children from getting it. This summer keep your kids close to home and your circle small until your child can be vaccinated. Vaccinations for children should be available first quarter of 2022. We all want life to be normal again but this virus is not over for anyone until it is over for everyone.