Surge in Covid JN.1 Variant Cases Prompts Doctors to Urge Parents to Give Extra Care to Children

Surge in Covid JN.1 Variant Cases Prompts Doctors to Urge Parents to Give Extra Care to Children

Expert Insights on Long-Term Symptoms in More than a quarter of Children and Prevention Strategies

More than 25% of kids who get COVID-19 might have symptoms that stick around for a while – Doctor says

 Delhi: Delhi is now reporting cases of JN.1, a subvariant of Covid-19. Given the rising cases across the country, experts in the capital have cautioned people of all age groups including children. Over a quarter of children who contract COVID-19 may experience long-term symptoms. It is the need of the hour for children to use masks, maintain hand hygiene, follow social distancing norms, and avoid crowded places or being around sick people. Parents should also disinfect frequently touched surfaces, encourage children to eat nutritious food, and follow the vaccination schedule for kids.

Before December 5 of last year, the number of Covid cases had fallen to double digits. However, with the advent of a new variation and the cold weather, cases have increased once more. The Delhi spike in sub-variant JN.1 has shown an increased transmission rate, posing additional challenges to the healthcare system. Experts recognize the need for proactive measures to curb the spread and protect the vulnerable, especially our children.

Dr Dixit Thakur, Pulmonologist, Apollo Spectra Delhi, Chirag Enclave Said, “Covid curve still refuses to flatten in the country as we see an uptick in fresh sub-variant JN.1 cases. More than 25% of kids who get COVID-19 might have symptoms that stick around for a while. We call these "long COVID" symptoms, and they can include feeling tired, having trouble breathing, or having problems with the brain. It is essential to understand the symptoms early to give kids the best care possible and help them get better."

 "To safeguard children from potential risks, it is advised to avoid crowded places and gatherings. Parents must be vigilant about involving children in group activities. Children aged two and above must wear masks when venturing outdoors. Additionally, the importance of regular hand hygiene to prevent the spread of infections must not be undermined. In case of symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, loose stools, vomiting, headache, body ache, or limping, it is important to go for prompt consultation with a paediatrician for timely and accurate diagnosis and management," says Dr Dixit Thakur.

Following COVID-appropriate measures like washing hands with soap and water, social distancing, masking, and avoiding crowds must be followed in all sincerity to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in children. “Schools must take the required measures and ensure proper ventilation in their vicinity. The focus should be on home-based healthy food choices. This includes a balanced diet that supports children's overall well-being. Parents should ensure that children wear masks that fit snugly over their noses and mouths and teach them the proper way to put on and remove masks to avoid contamination. Promoting activities that allow children to play and learn in well-ventilated spaces reduces the risk of airborne transmission,” highlighted Dr Dixit Thakur.

Dr Rishabh Raj, Pulmonologist, Lilavati Hospital Said, Vaccination is a cornerstone in the fight against Covid-19. Parents should consult with healthcare providers to stay informed about the latest vaccination guidelines for children, ensuring they receive age-appropriate vaccines and booster shots. This not only protects the child but also contributes to community immunity.”

“The JN.1 strain, a mutation of the omicron variant of COVID-19, is known for its increased transmissibility, yet it tends to result in less severe illness for most people.  Parents should not panic at all and ensure they safeguard their children from the virus. So far, the situation is under control and the cases reported are mild and don’t require any hospital admission. Patients infected with the JN.1 variant may have symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, and even moderate gastrointestinal problems. If any child falls sick then he/she should be isolated until the infection is confirmed through testing. If the child is detected Covid positive then immediate supportive treatment should be initiated without any delay and the child will recover within a week. Parents should take protective measures for children, including mask-wearing, practicing respiratory etiquette, regular hand hygiene, staying up to date with vaccinations, avoiding handshaking at school or exchanging notebooks, and staying home when sick,” Concluded Dr Raj.