Muscat: Distinguishing between COVID-19 and common cold not easy, a senior Consultant at Royal Hospital said.
Children are exposed to different infectious diseases throughout the season but respiratory infections are most frequent during the colder seasons due to the droplets in the enclosed areas.
Dr Badriya Al Wa’ili, Senior Consultant of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the Royal Hospital clarified that the number of children infected with respiratory viral infections rises in the northern hemisphere from October-November and remains high until April-May every year.
Children under two years of age are the most vulnerable to infections due to their weak immunity. About 34 per cent of children in this age group are infected with influenza and admitted to hospitals, she said noting that the Respiratory syncytial virus and seasonal flu virus are the most common viruses among children.
The doctor added that children suffer several infections during summer, including intestinal infections, meningitis, mouth and foot syndrome, in which the enterovirus is the main cause of these diseases.
Dr. Badriya explained that COVID-19 symptoms among children are not different from other respiratory viruses. Distinguishing between COVID-19 symptoms and more than 90 per cent of other mild symptoms including fever, flu, cough, headache and weakness is not easy.
Besides, the symptoms may vary from one child to another.
In addition, Dr Badriya stressed that multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is one of the serious complications that the child infected with COVID- 19 may be exposed to.
Symptoms may develop weeks after of the onset of COVID-19. MIS-C symptoms include fever, rashes, redness in the eyes, stomach ache, diarrhoea, cough or respiratory symptoms.
Children infected with MIS-C may need to be admitted to ICU due to low pressure and rapid heart rate.
The doctor said that the number of child patients admitted in the Royal Hospital reached 70 cases including 30 MIS-C cases. All of them patients were cured. The youngest case was a 10-day infant.
Dr Badriya reaffirmed the importance of taking the scheduled and additional vaccines for children with chronic diseases including the flu vaccinations in order to protect children from various viral infections. It is also important to wash hands, not touch eyes, and maintain a 2-metre distance. When leaving the home and in schools, children over 5-years of age must wear a mask.
In the event of having any symptoms, children must stay at home and maintain physical distance.