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The world continues to reel under the coronavirus, with Omicron as the leading variant in several countries. Moreover, the reigning variant has been endlessly producing subvariants that have become a cause of concern.
With schools fully functional and kids sharing space with other students and school staff, it is natural for parents to worry about how Omicron might affect their little ones. While some kids may suffer mild symptoms, others can become victims of more severe vulnerabilities like upper respiratory infections and cardiac arrest.
According to a study published in the JAMA Paediatrics, young children with Omicron are at a higher risk of Croup, which is a form of respiratory ailment that affects babies and young children and is technically recognised as laryngotracheitis. This happens because children have smaller and more collapsible airways, making them more susceptible to upper airway infections like croup. It can also lead to cardiac death in case of a severe infection.
For the study, researchers examined 18,849 children hospitalized with coronavirus. They found that incidences of upper airway infections rose during the Omicron spike. In the United States, more than one-fifth of children with SARS-CoV-2 and upper airway infection who were hospitalised developed severe disease.
Researchers of the study said, "Children with severe upper airway infection are at risk of cardiac arrest from rapid-onset upper airway obstruction. They may require therapies typically provided in intensive care units, including frequent administration of nebulized racemic epinephrine, helium-oxygen mixtures, and intubation. While the rate of SARS-CoV-2 paediatric upper airway infection is not overwhelmingly high, understanding this new clinical phenotype and the potential for acute upper airway obstruction may help guide therapeutic decision-making."
SARS-CoV-2 can induce severe paediatric sickness, including acute Covid-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, according to the researchers. Although non-coronaviruses, such as parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus, are the most common cause of upper airway infection, coronaviruses (such as type NL63) are frequently implicated.
Croup is an infection of the upper airway, which is marked by a barking cough and squeaky breathing. It can dangerously restrict breathing in severe cases. The symptoms of the disease typically get worse at night and last about 3-5 days. Some of the common signs of croup include:
(With inputs from agencies)
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