The virus has been identified in nearly 3.17 million children in the United States. Some kids with COVID-19 have been hospitalized, and sadly some have died.
Still, some children are experiencing complications weeks or months after their initial infection, whether they have mild or severe cases or no symptoms at all. According to surveys and research of small groups of adolescents, fatigue, headache, and heart palpitations are among the symptoms.
Doctors say that while cases of kids who had COVID-19 and chronic symptoms after COVID-19 are uncommon, they are on the rise, concerning parents and physicians monitoring the frequently strange and fluctuating array of symptoms.
Families discuss their struggles to be taken seriously on Facebook support groups and other social media and express concern that basic scientific information is missing.
Even if they have cleared the infection, are not dealing from apparent organ damage, and their scans, bloodwork, and other tests come out negative, many of the kids who had COVID-19 and suffer from long-term effects complain that they continue to feel weak.
Children have been largely shielded from the destruction of COVID-19, according to public health authorities and scientists. However, without an appreciation of "long-haulers," their story is incomplete.
COVID-19 tends to be confined to adults in the early months of the pandemic, as many children sought refuge at home. However, like schools, sports, and other activities grew in popularity, it became apparent that children were also vulnerable.
Even though the World Health Organization recognizes that COVID-19 "may often result in prolonged illness, even in young adults and children without underlying chronic medical conditions," attempts to describe the illness have focused primarily on phone surveys, case reports, and anecdotal evidence thus far.
What the WHO Has to Say:
- In young adults and kids who had COVID-19 but do not have any underlying chronic medical conditions, COVID-19 can cause long-term illness.
- There have been several case studies of people who have not regained their former health.
- Little is known about the clinical course of COVID-19 following milder disease.
- There are several case reports from people who do not recover their prior health after COVID-19.
- When symptomatic adults with a positive SARS-CoV-2 outpatient test result were interviewed 2-3 weeks after testing, 35 percent had not returned to their normal health status.
- Among those in good health aged 18 to 34, 20% (1 in 5) indicated that specific symptoms were persistent.
- High blood pressure, obesity, and mental health issues are also risk factors for symptom persistence.
Symptoms can persist or recur for weeks or months after initial recovery in some people. This can happen even in those who have mild disease. During this time, they are not contagious.
Medical complications can also arise in certain patients, which can have long-term implications.
For the period March-June 2020, the following are self-reported symptoms at the time of positive SARS-CoV-2 testing results and unresolved symptoms 14-21 days later among outpatients in the United States.
- Cough, congestion, or difficulty breathing
- Taste or olfactory loss
- Headache, aches, and pains in the body
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Pain in the chest or abdomen
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