Doctors say they are seeing new symptoms in children who have COVID-19
Health officials are saying that they are starting to see more pediatric COVID-19 patients since November with different symptoms.
The children, who are between the ages of 5 and 12, were showing gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and dehydration. But doctors say that since November, they are seeing more respiratory symptoms among the children – ones that would normally appear in adults.
“We’re not 100% sure why kids are sicker now than they were the last time,” says Dr. Katharine Clouser, a pediatric hospitalist at Hackensack University Medical Center.
The doctors are wondering if new variants of the virus have to do with the new symptoms in children.
“What it did do in the United Kingdom and South Africa was that kids were being more affected. So, obviously, here in New Jersey, we were wondering, ‘is this something that we were going to see,’” Clouser says.
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One of New Jersey’s first reported patients of the UK variant was a child. So, with its continued DNA sequencing research, Hackensack Meridian Health finds that with the virus being more contagious, more children could get it, which could also mean more of a problem for schools potentially reopening.
"So, we were concerned that maybe kids would be more affected. So far, we're not 100% sure why we're seeing this uptick, but it is going to affect kids a little bit more,” Clouser says. “S0, we may see an increase in the positivity among that pediatric population."
The doctor recommends that parents have their children get used to wearing a mask more often by designating times during the day to have them on at home.
And while questions are still being answered among pediatric cases, one trend has been certain – Black and Hispanic children are getting a more severe course of the virus.
"Is it just what they're exposed to, is it that they don't get health care as fast as other people, or if it's something within the genes?” Clouser says. “So, it's something we're studying a lot of that to figure out are there a lot of common threads? But we do know that minorities should take extra precautions for themselves and their children."
She says that within the next six months, doctors will know more about the cases as they do more DNA sequencing. Vaccine trials for children ages 12-16 are also starting.