The Anticipated COVID-19 Third Wave – Are Children at Greater Risk?
- Video: Are Children At Greater Risk of Getting Infected During the Anticipated COVID 19 Third Wave?
- What Is a Wave in a Pandemic?
- Will There Be a Third Wave of COVID-19 & How Dangerous Will It Be?
- Will the Third Wave of COVID-19 Affect Children the Most?
- Myths of COVID-19 Associated with Children
- What Do Experts Say About the Third Wave?
- What Precautions Can You Take to Protect Your Child from COVID-19 Infection?
- COVID-19 Vaccination for Children
The pandemic is pushing us to always keep our guard up. What seemed like a manageable situation a little while ago, now has many parents confused and panicking, primarily because of the increasing cases of COVID-19 in kids during the second wave. Several coronavirus third wave predictions are making rounds already and raising concerns among parents about kids’ safety and health. Will the third wave occur for real? Will it affect kids the most? Read on to know more.
Video: Are Children At Greater Risk of Getting Infected During the Anticipated COVID 19 Third Wave?
What Is a Wave in a Pandemic?
A pandemic wave is a rise in the number of patients until it reaches a peak, followed by a decline over a period after its onset. When the trend is plotted on a chart, it resembles a wave. Disease waves are not scientifically defined, but are often used to categorise different phases of a pandemic.
The study of disease waves helps predict future outbreaks; for example, the common cold, which peaks around winter and goes on till spring. It helps us identify which diseases are seasonal and which are not.
Will There Be a Third Wave of COVID-19 & How Dangerous Will It Be?
While there is no sure way to validate the coronavirus third wave prediction, experts warn that there could be one, given that the virus now has variants affecting people severely. Also, it cannot be predicted how dangerous it will be, but if the COVID-19 safety norms and preventive measures are not taken, the number of patients may increase.
This prediction is, in no way, made to create panic; it is to help prepare for the third wave in case it hits. Therefore, it is necessary to stay informed through reliable sources, and steer clear of any myths or rumours making rounds.
Will the Third Wave of COVID-19 Affect Children the Most?
The rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 in children during the second wave is likely to have worried parents. However, experts advise that even if there is a third wave, it may not severely impact kids, or it is unlikely that it will affect them alone. Parents must, however, ensure they and their children stay safe and take necessary precautions.
Myths of COVID-19 Associated with Children
One of the things that will help parents take the right steps to keep some of the stress away is to shun the myths, and instead opt for practical and logical reasoning.
Here are some of the many myths making rounds:
1. Kids won’t be able to fight the infection as their immune systems are frail.
While kids are susceptible to developing the coronavirus infection, so far, most cases of COVID-19 in kids were mild or asymptomatic. This is because of the lesser expression of receptors the virus binds to enter the immune system. If there is a third wave, and a massive increase in the number of COVID-19 patients is seen, there may be a large number of kids with moderate-severe symptoms of the infection, but they won’t be affected exclusively.
2. The new variants of COVID-19 will affect kids the most.
Experts say that the number of infections is high because its prevalence is high. Any new COVID-19 variant will affect adults and kids equally if they are exposed to it.
3. There is no mental and emotional impact on children due to COVID-19.
The pandemic has elevated stress levels across the world. Children are affected the most as they cannot express themselves as well as adults do, and do not have enough tools to troubleshoot any issues they are experiencing. The mental and emotional requirements of kids need to be addressed more than ever now.
What Do Experts Say About the Third Wave?
Experts say there is no evidence that the third wave of COVID-19 will occur in India. The information is a mere prediction to raise awareness and preparedness in case the numbers peak. One must remember that kids are at an equal risk of contracting the infection. Therefore, they must continue taking necessary preventive measures. The rate of kids testing positive for COVID-19 during the second wave and the unavailability of vaccine for kids may raise concerns for parents, but experts suggest it won’t affect kids predominantly.
What Precautions Can You Take to Protect Your Child from COVID-19 Infection?
Parents need to take the same precautions to protect their kids from the infection.
Here are the primary precautions one must take:
- Ensure your kids wear masks when stepping out.
- It’s a good idea to dress them in full-length clothing to minimise any interaction with surfaces when outdoors.
- Ensure they follow good hygiene practices and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and clean water.
- They may use an alcohol-based sanitiser.
- Clean and sanitise all the objects and surfaces kids are likely to touch at home.
- Avoid crowded places, social gatherings, events, etc. If you need to take your kid out for unavoidable reasons, ensure that social distancing is maintained.
- Keep indoor and outdoor clothes separate, and wash them separately.
- Encourage kids to pursue hobbies, and engage them in activities they can do independently. This way, they won’t miss out on fun, and they will have something to divert their minds and relieve their stress.
COVID-19 Vaccination for Children
India is still in the process of vaccinating adults, while some countries have begun vaccinations for kids under the age of 18. One of the reasons for the delay is that the vaccines available in India need to clear certain regulations defined for the younger age groups. Also, most clinical trials in India are either scheduled for the near future or are awaiting approval. Currently, there is no visibility as to when COVID-19 vaccines will be available for kids.
1. When Will the Third Wave Come?
Going by past data collated from the first and second COVID-19 waves, the third wave may hit us during the peak of the winter season, i.e., November 2021-January 2022.
2. What Can Be the Signs of COVID-19 In Children During the Third Wave?
Infected kids may show these signs in the third wave.
- Loss of taste or smell
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Trouble breathing
- Body or muscle ache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor appetite
3. Which Children Are at Higher Risk of Getting Infected?
Children with pre-existing health issues, such as heart diseases, lung conditions or respiratory disorders, obesity, etc., and those with weak or compromised immunity are at higher risk of getting infected. Babies under the age of one may also be at risk, as their immune systems aren’t developed, and they have smaller airways, which could lead to breathing issues.
4. Will the Third Wave Be Dangerous for Babies & Toddlers?
There is no evidence that the third wave will be dangerous for babies and toddlers, as it won’t predominantly affect kids. The risk of getting infected is equal, no matter what the age group is, if one is exposed to the virus. However, kids may develop mild symptoms compared to adults because of the lesser expressions of receptors, which the virus uses to bind with to enter the body or the immune system.
5. What Additional Precautions Should Be Taken Apart from Regular Hygiene to Keep Children Safe from the Third Wave?
Apart from regular hygiene, children need to consume a healthy diet and lead a mentally and physically active lifestyle despite the restrictions on their movement. Parents must ensure their kids are well-informed about the disease without scaring them, and let them share all their feelings. Talking about COVID-19 and sharing their concerns and issues will help them destress, too. Limiting time outdoors, especially in crowded spaces, and maintaining social distance should almost be second nature for children nowadays.
Remember, any information on the third wave in India is only based on observations from the first and the second waves. While they may allow us to make predictions, they do not necessarily confirm its occurrence. It is, therefore, imperative that parents ensure their kids continue following COVID-19 norms and keep them safe until they are vaccinated.