Coronavirus: Children get sick less often, but risk increases with age

The coronavirus affects less frequently and severely in childhood, but as children grow older the risk increases to develop the disease serious enough to be hospitalized, according to a study published in Jama Pediatrics, the monthly medical journal reviewed by the American Medical Association.

“Children seem to experience covid-19 less frequently and severely than adults, although they can also get very sick,” Lindsay Thompson, professor of Pediatrics at the University of Florida, explained to the Spanish scientific news agency Sinc. UU) and co-author of the research with Sonja Rasmussen

“We emphasize maintaining basic prevention measures. These recommendations work and cannot be forgotten or abandoned, ”he added.

Children can contract Covid-19 through family members and other close contacts, such as friends and teachers at school and at sports activities.

The work underscores that, as children grow older, their risk of developing severe forms of the disease is greater, although newborns and babies are also at greater risk.

“The risk of death in children is much lower than in adults, but some have died from this virus”, insist the authors.

The study, conducted in the United States, shows how Hispanic, black, American Indian, or Alaska Native children are at higher risk of severe disease and death.

“Research has shown that children with certain underlying conditions are at increased risk of severe Covid-19, such as obesity, asthma, neurological disorders, heart or immune diseases, among others,” Rasmussen and Thomson say.

Furthermore, on rare occasions children infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

“They can have this syndrome between two and four weeks after infection. Some do not have symptoms of covid-19, but require hospitalization and many need complex supportive therapies to respond to what appears to be a strong response from the body to be infected ”, they point out.

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The most important way to prevent Covid-19 is to avoid getting infected. For the authors, all family members must follow the fundamental recommendations: maintain a minimum distance of almost two meters from others; wear a mask when you leave home; and wash your hands often with soap and water for more than 20 seconds, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

In the same way, it is necessary to avoid closed spaces with little ventilation; crowded places with a lot of people nearby; and places of close contact, such as short-distance conversations.

According to Thomson, parents must remain vigilant in caring for their children through social distancing and the use of masks.

“Although it can be easy to become complacent, it is always important to stand firm with children for their safety and that of your family.”

The study suggests that parents must balance the obligation to keep their children safe with their needs to learn and socialize with their peers.

“We want to keep girls and boys safe and learning, while minimizing risks to themselves, their friends, family members and vulnerable people in society,” the authors conclude. (Télam)

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