Corona for babies, children and teenagers

For a long time it was not known what role the youngest members of our society play in the current corona pandemic. What are the symptoms and what is the typical course of the disease in children??


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Univ.-Prof. Dr. Markus Knuf, clinic director of the clinic for children and adolescents in the Helios Dr. Horst Schmidt Kliniken in Wiesbaden, knows the answers.

This much in advance: In most cases, children show much more harmless signs of illness than adults do. The hotspots of corona infections in children are metropolitan centers, such as Berlin, the Ruhr area or Munich.

What symptoms do children show with Corona?

With the symptoms that children with Sars Cov-2 infection a distinction must be made between courses of the disease which can be outpatient are treated and the rare cases, which have a inpatient treatment require.

Mild course of the disease in children

For parents, Covid-19 disease can only be distinguished from other viruses very difficult to distinguish from another viral infection of the respiratory tract. In addition, children may experience the typical symptoms that adults cite, such as Sore throat or Loss of taste and smell, often cannot express themselves.

The most common symptoms among children are Mild symptoms in the foreground. These include Cough, Rhinitis, Fatigue and Limb Pain. However, many children have no signs of illness at all; doctors refer to this as "asymptomatic". "Children do not get sick nearly as severely as adults, who can have very severe pulmonary courses, among other things," explains Univ.-Prof. Dr. Knuf.

Severe course of disease in children

Children, with severe courses of Sars-CoV-2, show different symptoms. These usually include Fever and general symptoms. "Behind general symptoms, for example, hides the Infant who appears ill and no longer want to drink and look gray," explains Univ.-Prof. Dr. Knuf. In addition Upper respiratory tract infections as for example Cough and one Respiratory distress in addition. In rare cases, children develop severe diarrhea, pneumonia and even respiratory failure, or conditions similar to blood poisoning.

Corona for babies, children and teenagers

Of 15 million children living in Germany, 235 had to be hospitalized due to Sars-CoV-2 infection.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Markus Knuf, Clinic Director of the Clinic for Children and Adolescents | Helios Dr. Horst Schmidt Clinics in Wiesbaden

Of these 235 children 14 percent intensive care be cared for. A severely pre-diseased child died. These figures are as of early October 2020 and are regularly collected by the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI).

No patterns in children with severe courses

Half of the infants admitted to hospital are either newborns, infants (first 12 months of life) or Infants (1 to 5 years). Least affected are Adolescents. No difference can be observed between girls or boys. 20 percent of hospitalized children have asymptomatic courses of a corona infection and had to be hospitalized for a different reason.

Covid-19 and the "childhood disease" PIMS

In Germany, between 40 and 50 cases have been documented in which children infected with Covid-19 have the so-called Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome, PIMS for short, develop. This is a severe, inflammatory disease that resembles the symptoms of Kawasaki syndrome.

Corona for babies, children and teenagers

It cannot be concluded that Covid-19 causes PIMS in some children, because we assume that children who develop PIMS are likely to have some susceptibility to the disease as well.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Markus Knuf, Clinic Director of the Clinic for Children and Adolescents | Helios Dr. Horst Schmidt Clinics in Wiesbaden

In these cases, experts speak of a genetic susceptibility. Susceptibility describes the sensitivity of biological systems to external influences.

How does a corona test work in children??

Children are treated with the same PCR test screened for Covid-19 like adults. Thereby shows a Mouth, nose and throat swab test a higher efficiency compared to a throat swab alone. "I am critical of indiscriminate testing, because it increases the risk of false positives. I advocate only testing infants who have a justified suspicion exists or actual symptoms of a Corona infection are present," explains the clinic director.

What is the risk for newborns whose mothers have covid-19??

If an expectant mother is sick with Covid-19 at birth, it doesn’t mean the newborn will also get sick, nor does it mean that any infection will take a severe course when. "It is possible that the unborn children receive antibodies even before they are born Antibodies via the umbilical cord, provided that the woman has already had Covid-19 for five to seven days," explains Univ.-Prof. Dr. Knuf. Once the children of an ill mother are born, they will be isolated, to the corona virus tested and exactly observed.

Overall, it can be said that newborns do well with Sars-CoV-2 infection.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Markus Knuf, Clinic Director of the Clinic for Children and Adolescents | Helios Dr. Horst Schmidt Clinics in Wiesbaden

These children are at increased risk

Risk factors in children include Neurological clinical pictures, cardiovascular diseases as well as lung disease such as Asthma. Children who are taking medication are also more at risk Immunosuppression receive.

Particularly pre-diseased children with lung problems should not only be protected from a Covid-19 disease but also from the seasonal influenza. In this case, the Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends a annual flu vaccination.

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