Doctors see an increase in viral infections among children
Doctors said that parents should immediately seek medical attention for their children if symptoms start showing
Mumbai Doctors in the city are noticing a spurt of viral infections among children. Amid the ongoing pandemic and the threat of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, doctors said that parents should immediately seek medical advice instead of wasting the initial days of symptoms with self-medication at home.
“We are seeing a lot of upper respiratory tract infection as well as lower respiratory tract infections among children since the past few days,” said Dr Bela Verma, head of the paediatric department of state-run JJ Hospital. “The increase is marginal at the moment. We are ruling out Covid-19 in all patients as the SARS-CoV-2 remains in circulation. But almost all our patients have tested negative for Covid barring one,” she said.
According to Dr Verma, three out of 10 paediatric patients are coming with viral ailments. “We have been admitting children with lower respiratory tract infections as they have some breathing difficulty along with cough and fever. They are treated with oxygen therapy, bronchodilators along with other supportive treatments,” said Dr Verma.
Doctors said that Mumbai’s air quality and the layers of smog seen over the past several days, has also resulted in worsening of respiratory illnesses, especially among adults and paediatric patients with existing lung ailments. On November 16, south Mumbai recorded worst air quality levels than Delhi, with Colaba’s air quality index touching 345, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
Infectious disease specialist Dr Neeraj Tulara from LH Hiranandani Hospital in Powai said that they have been witnessing an increase for the past two weeks. “Dengue cases have come down significantly in the last two weeks. There are also not many Covid cases. Nearly 60% to 70% of patients coming to the outpatient department have a common cold, flu or viral fever,” said Dr Tulara adding that common flu is highly contagious as it spreads through respiratory droplets and surfaces. “One infected child can it spread to a cohort in the school. Parents should educate their children and make sure that they don’t send their children to school or to play if they have any symptoms of flu,” he said.
Doctors said that adhering to Covid-appropriate behaviour like wearing a mask and washing hands can help in curbing the spread of common flu as well.
In wake of the new Covid-19 variant, the task force is likely a convene a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the re-opening of schools. “We have given a go-ahead for Covid-19 vaccination for children in the age group of 12 to 18 years,” said Dr Bakul Parekh, a member of the paediatric Covid-19 task force.