COVID and long COVID is a topic that we’re all probably sick of hearing, right? And with the new year fast approaching, I am sure many of us are praying for this chapter of our lives to end.
While we have been enjoying a greater return to normality for some time now, COVID infections are still ongoing. With the higher infectious rate of the currently prevalent Omicron variant and its subvariants, a much larger number and more diverse range of people in our communities have been and are being affected compared to the beginning of the pandemic.
Haven’t we been told that COVID is something we now just have to live with?
COVID is probably not really going to go away any time soon. It is comforting to know, though, that while our kids are catching it, most get through it with a milder case than us adults. There are even reports of kids being pretty much symptom-free and only being picked up as positive in a family-wide test prompted by a confirmed case.
So, do we still need to worry about it?
More and more research and clinical data is coming out with a greater understanding of how COVID can impact some of our kids more so than others in terms of what follows in the weeks and months after the acute infection.
One long-term consequence is what has been termed ‘Long COVID’ or in the medical literature, ‘Post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC)’.
How common is long COVID?
Tracking how many kids suffer from long COVID has not been easy as there has been a bit of a lack of consistency in how the condition has been defined and how data has been collected in research studies. It could be as low as 4% or as high as 66%.
Research does inform us that older kids and those who have allergic conditions or other underlying health issues, who are overweight/ obese, are more at risk of long COVID.
Until we have more solid information, if your child has not been quite right and struggling with niggling symptoms for weeks or months following a confirmed or even suspected case of COVID, it is worth reaching out to one of our practitioners to see how we can help.
This is what we know about long COVID at the moment
Long COVID is defined as a condition that
- develops with or after an acute COVID infection
- includes symptoms that have persisted for more than 8-12 weeks after the initial positive diagnosis (these can wax and wane)
- impacts your child’s physical, mental and social well-being by interfering with their ability to carry out normal everyday activities and interactions at home and school.
What are the symptoms of long COVID?
One child with long COVID can present very differently to the next. Not only do the number and combination of symptoms vary but the severity and duration differ also. Symptoms can carry on after the acute infection or even start some weeks afterwards. Even asymptomatic kids can develop long COVID.
The most common symptom is fatigue; reported in up to 87% of kids.
- difficulty concentrating and/or remembering
- mood swings
- loss of smell and/or taste
- sore throat
- tummy aches and pain
- muscle aches and pains
- trouble sleeping
There can also be:
- skin rashes
- a lack of appetite
- diarrhoea and/or vomiting
- difficulty breathing
- a cough
- stuffy or runny nose
- persistent fever
- chest pain
- a racing or fluttering heartbeat
What is the take-home message?
Long COVID is becoming increasingly more common.
Being informed gives you more confidence in making a decision on where to go to from here.
As parents, it is always important to trust our own instincts. If something just doesn’t seem right then there is no harm in seeking more information and guidance on how to support our kids through to better health. If you’re looking for ways to boost your child’s natural immunity, have a read of this past article on 10 ways to boost your child’s immune system.
Needing extra support? Get in contact with us today if you are concerned your child needs help bouncing back after a COVID infection.