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Coronavirus disease 2019 in children: Surprising findings in the midst of a global pandemic

Journal title
Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien
Publication year
Goldman, R. D.

Question Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is affecting millions of people worldwide. It seems that it affects mostly adults older than 40 years of age, and the death rate is highest for older individuals in the population. What should I tell parents worried about their children contracting the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing COVID-19, and what symptoms should I look for to determine if there is a need to test for the virus?Answer The COVID-19 global pandemic affects all ages. Severe respiratory manifestations have been the mainstay of illness in adults, with what seems to be rapid deterioration necessitating mechanical ventilation. Only 5% of those tested and found to have COVID-19 have been younger than 19 years, possibly owing to limited testing, as the symptoms in children are usually mild. Symptoms in children include fever, dry cough, rhinorrhea, sore throat, and fatigue, and in 10% diarrhea or vomiting. Rarely dyspnea or hypoxemia were also described. Blood tests and imaging have been shown to be of little value in children and should only be ordered for those in whom you would normally order these investigations for viral-like illness. No specific therapy is available and supportive care with rest, fluids, and antipyretics for children is the recommended approach. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever and pain can be given. Antiviral and immunomodulatory treatment is not recommended at this time for otherwise healthy children, and corticosteroids should also not be used. Children with immunocompromised states should be isolated and avoid contact with others. Publisher: Abstract available from the publisher. fre

Research abstracts