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Children have high chance of contracting more diseases if they test positive for Covid and respiratory virus

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Children have high chance of contracting more diseases if they test positive for Covid and respiratory virus

Image source: UN News

Children: Since the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, the deadly virus’ spread has decreased, but there is still much to discover about Covid.

The research objective is still to grasp the virus better.

Recent studies have shown that children under five who test positive for another respiratory virus are often likely to get worse.

Additionally, they catch more illnesses.

According to a study published on Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics, children hospitalized under the age of five who test positive for Covid and other respiratory viruses have a doubled risk of developing severe respiratory diseases.

The study

Studies were conducted when respiratory infections, including RSV, flu, Covid-19, and others, flooded children’s hospitals.

The results demonstrate the impact these illnesses have on children’s hospitals.

It also demonstrates how continuing to track Covid-19 and other viruses may aid in predicting future spikes in hospitalization.

Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as from other institutions and health agencies around the USA, conducted the study.

Firsthand account

Throughout the pandemic, Jenevieve Silva noted that it might be challenging to care for children with multiple respiratory diseases.

Living in San Jose, California, Silva is a mother of eight children.

Since her twin boys’ preschool enrollment in May 2021 as toddlers, she has had to cope with several illnesses.

“The height of the illness was from September through mid-November, when our household just could not catch a break,” she said.

Her twins tested positive for Covid-19 in October 2022.

Their doctor eventually gave them a diagnosis for what they later learned to be another respiratory ailment, likely brought on by the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

“Based on what the pediatrician told us, she said, ‘I highly believe that they had these overlapping viruses,'” said Silva.

She also went through the following warning signs and symptoms with the boys:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

In addition, one twin had a temperature of 105 degrees for four days in a row.

Jenevieve Silva admitted that it was tough to watch her boys go through this, even though warm baths and applying Vicks VaporRub to their backs and chests helped them manage the discomfort.

“They had just looked so frail – they looked sick, like something deeper than back-to-back viruses,” noted Silva.

“It was hell. I mean, it was really bad.”

Read also: Kids in sports: how you can protect them and still let them have fun

Aftermath

The illnesses that Jenevieve Silva’s boys had were ultimately treated.

Even though they are doing well today and have put on a lot of weight, she is still anxious that their fevers may have caused them to get asthma.

Silva said the doctor noted that since October, when the twins’ illnesses overlapped, it seemed to have potentially induced asthma.

When they get a cold, the children may develop asthma symptoms, such as coughing and vomiting.

“I can’t be the only mom dealing with virus after virus,” Silva said.

“Be patient. Listen to your doctor.”

Data

Four thousand three hundred seventy-two kids hospitalized with Covid-19 are included in the most recent study’s data.

In 21% of individuals with additional respiratory viruses analyzed, a codetection—the presence of many other viruses—was discovered.

Researchers stated that rather than coinfection, they were concentrating on codetection.

Even though both viruses tested positive, it’s plausible that the kids weren’t genuinely ill.

The study found minimal respiratory virus detections in the first year of the pandemic.

Few instances of influenza were reported during the first two years of the pandemic, but RSV and rhinovirus (or enterovirus) infections surged during the Delta-predominant phase.

The majority of kids with codetections, according to data, were under five years old.

Additionally, they were more likely to need additional oxygen support and admission to intensive care units.

Young infants that test positive for RSV frequently develop life-threatening illnesses with Covid.

Pandemic lessons

The children, who were diagnosed with Covid-19 and other viral codetections, typically needed critical care and oxygen support, according to Dr. Ascuncion Mejias, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“Covid is a very proinflammatory virus, so it really weakens your immune response,” said Mejias.

“And when you haven’t recovered yet, and you get a second hit, in this case, RSV or rhinovirus, you develop a more severe disease.”

The findings of this study, in the opinion of Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Disease, highlight the need to make sure that children get their vaccines on schedule.

Mejias shared her perspective and underlined the need for safe procedures to minimize the spread of illnesses to infants too young to get vaccinations.

“The pandemic taught us how contagious these viruses are,” said Mejias. “If somebody is sick, try to avoid contact.”

“These viruses are not only transmitted by saliva and secretions, but by hands. It can survive in your hands for more than 30 minutes.”

“So if you touch your mouth and then touch a little baby, the baby can self inoculate the virus and become infected.”

“So washing hands and all these measures are very important.”

Reference:

When young children test positive for Covid-19 and another respiratory virus, their illness may be much more severe, a new study suggests

Jeah Lorraine Adams has been a writer for the past two decades. She is also a mom of two.

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