However, in the second wave, things are much different and the virus is turning out to be equally infectious for both children as well as grown-ups. Children, including newborns, generally develop mild coronavirus symptoms and recover faster as compared to adults. Only in rare cases, they develop an acute infection, but the risk of persisting symptoms or long COVID remains the same.
What is long COVID?
Mild or moderate COVID lasts about 15 days or 2 weeks for most people. During the phase of recovery, the symptoms go away on its own slowly. But some people experience lingering health problems past their 15 days recovery period from the acute phase of the illness.
Long COVID is defined as signs and symptoms that develop during or following coronavirus infection and continue for more than 12 weeks after the period of infection.
Long COVID in kids
In most cases, kids develop mild COVID symptoms like fever, cough, breathlessness, fatigue, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of smell and loss of taste or remain asymptomatic.
But there is growing evidence that suggests that some kids may develop long COVID, even if they do not show any symptoms after contracting the virus. Several cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome or pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS) have been noticed in kids post-recovery period. Besides, they may also experience brain fog, muscle aches, pain, gastrointestinal problems, nausea, dizziness, seizures, hallucinations and testicular pain.
As per an Italian study that looked at 129 children aged between 6 and 16 years, infected with coronavirus between March and November 2020, about 42.6 per cent of the children had symptoms for more than 60 days post-infection.
A similar case study carried out in Sweden, on five children aged between 9 to 15 revealed that all of them had symptoms like fatigue, dyspnoea (laboured breathing), heart palpitations or chest pain even 6 to 8 months after the initial infection.
What causes long COVID in kids
The real reason why kids experience symptoms of COVID-19 weeks after the initial infection remains unknown. In case of adults, it was speculated the symptoms of COVID-19 exist even after the initial infection due to the persistence of the active virus in the system, reinfection, weak immune response system or any pre-existing condition. It was pointed out that post-traumatic stress following the illness could also be responsible for that.
However, the factors that lead to long COVID symptoms may differ from that of grown-ups. According to experts, more research is needed in this area to determine the factors that may make kids long haulers of COVID symptoms. More research is being carried to understand the exact cause that may lead to developing long term symptoms in adults as well as kids.