Are Most Children Covid-19 Asymptomatic?
The covid-19 pandemic is probably one of the worst epidemics to hit mankind in the last half-millennium. The novel coronavirus seems to spread quickly by various means and the symptoms are questionable and highly inconsistent.
This phenomenon makes it really difficult for parents with toddlers and teenagers to identify whether or not their children have contracted covid-19. Furthermore, in most cases, children seemed to remain asymptomatic for the longest duration. Not only does this delay the treatment but it becomes difficult to contain the virus within the household.
Following this dissatisfying manner of demonstrating symptoms, children end up spreading the novel coronavirus to other members which have quite the adverse effect. This is to say that even after the child recovers, there is a small chance that they might catch the virus again from the adults or other children in the house. Inevitably, this makes the situation that much more dangerous.
Hence, today we will discuss the subtle signs of the novel coronavirus that will help you detect it in your children early on, even if they are asymptomatic. But before we do that let us discuss children’s anatomy to better understand the way they show symptoms of covid-19.
Are children really asymptomatic to covid-19?
The simple answer is – No.
While the bodies of most children remain asymptomatic to the effects of covid-19, some of them do show signs within the first 5-6 days of contracting the novel coronavirus.
If the child has existing ailments or health disorders, it is most likely that they will start displaying symptoms of covid-19 sooner than their healthier peers. For the most part, doctors and parents alike, tend to panic when a child has a common cold which makes it that much more difficult to identify the symptoms of the novel coronavirus when it does attack.
Therefore, it is important to know what you are looking for in order to recognize the signs of covid-19, even if the child is, in fact, asymptomatic.
Why do children tend to remain asymptomatic even after contracting covid-19?
Children have a better and more active immune system than adults. Their internal organs, the levels of cortisol, collagen, etc. are high-functioning, therefore, they heal from diseases and symptoms a lot faster than grownups.
This is what makes them seem asymptomatic to covid-19 even if they do have the virus.
The novel coronavirus, however, has similar effects on their nasopharynx as it does in adults. This makes it likely for children to spread the disease through the household quickly and undetected. Hence, it is recommended to always keep an eye out for the symptoms of covid-19 in your children in order to not only keep them safe and seek treatment at the earliest but also to keep the second wave from hitting the members of your household.
How likely is it that children can contract coronavirus and still remain asymptomatic?
Given the current lockdown and barricades on schools, colleges, and general interactions, it, fortunately, makes it difficult for children to be attacked by the virus.
Still, despite the restrictions and accommodating education online, children will often go out to play, even if it is within the society or to neighbors’ houses. Thus, the risk still exists, however small it may be.
Now, keeping in mind their effective immune systems, it still seems that they do not show any indications of contracting the novel coronavirus, and remain asymptomatic, majority of the time. But there are subtle indications to look out for.
We recommend that you keep an eye on your children closely during the pandemic, especially if they haven’t received their vaccinations, to identify the signs of covid-19. Every time they leave the house, even if it is to play outside the main door, or interact with anyone apart from members of the household, you must monitor them for symptoms.
How soon can you expect to notice subtle signs of covid-19 although the child remains majorly asymptomatic?
Incubation of the novel coronavirus in children takes almost the same period of time as it does in adults. Therefore, God forbid, if your child does contract covid-19, the virus will start to fester within 2 to 14 days of catching the infection.
Since the onset of covid-19, it has been preached worldwide that the symptoms are similar to the common flu, therefore, parents seem to miss subtle indications when the child doesn’t have flu-like symptoms. However, you need to keep an eye out for the other symptoms besides the cold, cough, and chills.
Children, having quick metabolisms and high immunity may remain largely asymptomatic but a few signs will be visible within the first 3 to 6 days.
What are the primary symptoms of covid-19 to look out for?
Here are a few basic symptoms of Covid-19 to look out for during the pandemic, especially if your child is yet not inoculated:
- The most common flu-like symptoms such as Fever, Cold, running nose, and Cough.
- Nasal congestion
- Difficulty in breathing freely
- Sore throat
- Painful dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Puffy nose every time they try to take a breath
- Upper respiratory problems
They may also experience signs of Myalgia which tends to be overlooked, usually. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Sore muscles
- Pain in their chest
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Pain in muscles or muscle nodes
There are also a few gastrointestinal symptoms of covid-19 that are usually chalked up to regular disorders. However, these signs should draw your attention to have your child tested for covid-19 at the earliest:
- Pain in the abdominal regions
- Ulcers in GI tracts or oral cavities
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of sensory organs, mostly olfactory senses and taste.
About 50% of pediatric covid-19 cases have reported that the child was asymptomatic of the basic symptoms or only demonstrated a mild cough and cold accompanied by fever. However, if your child has any of the symptoms listed above, it is necessary to have them tested right away to avoid further complications and contain the spread of the disease through your household.
What to do if you see any of the above signs in your child even if they seem asymptomatic for the most part?
As we have already stated, children may appear asymptomatic but the effects of the virus may only just be submissive. This not only puts them in the direct line of danger but they also act as carriers and spread the disease through your house, not to mention, other children with whom they come in contact.
Therefore, if your child appears to have basic flu-like symptoms or experience gastrointestinal disorders, or even have sore muscles and myalgia, it is best to consult a physician or your regular pediatrician at the earliest.
Due to the high risk of coming in contact with infected people at a clinic or a hospital, we recommend you first seek medical advice through a telephonic medium or video conferencing. It is ideal to contact your regular physician or pediatrician as they are familiar with the child’s history of health. This way, they are aware of any allergies and abnormalities that may have caused the symptoms or influence the mode of treatment in case the child is, in fact, infected by the novel coronavirus.
If the doctor is unable to conduct a telephonic or video checkup, or they insist on running physical tests to ensure that it is covid-19 then you will need to visit a medical facility. In this case, you must follow all the general precautions and consider dressing your child in a PPE kit for maximum protection from external factors.
Should you isolate the child if they are asymptomatic yet diagnosed covid-19 positive?
Although the child is asymptomatic, they are still carriers of the virus. This is not a step for self-preservation alone and it certainly does not translate to abandoning him or her. It is a precautionary measure for the benefit of the child so they do not catch the virus a second time from members of the family.
Assign a single person or a professional caregiver to attend to the child till their recovery. Ensure that the caregiver always wears a mask and if the child is above the age of 2, capable of breathing freely, insist on making them wear a mask as well.
With simple precautionary measures, you can help your children recover faster from covid-19 even if they are asymptomatic but still test positive for the infection.
The incredible and fortunately strong immune system in kids keeps them healthy and invulnerable to the noxious effects of the novel coronavirus. They may have mild symptoms or remain asymptomatic for the most part, so if you see any indications of covid-19, waste no time consulting with a medical professional right away.
Do not panic if your child seems asymptomatic yet tests positive. In these tough times, faith goes a long way along with proper care to help them recover.