November 10 will always be a significant date for Jack because it was the last day before the 9-year-old was scheduled to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. His family was overjoyed that he would be protected from the virus.
However, he began to get sniffles the day before his shot. His mother had him tested for Covid, and she tested positive. This prevented Jack from staying at school all day. He must also limit his baseball practice, and playing his favorite Fortnite game can leave him tired and sick the next day.
Jack is one of many children who have long Covid.
All of these symptoms, according to Jack, are aggravating; it’s difficult to breathe, your stomach hurts, and you have a stuffy nose.
An Unreported Problem
Due to a lack of research, health agencies are currently unaware of how many children have contracted long Covid.
More than 13 million children have been infected with the virus since the pandemic began, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Several studies indicate that 2% to 10% of children will develop long Covid, but the true figure could be higher. Many parents and pediatricians are unaware that long covid is on the rise.
According to some adult research, the number of long covid cases is around 30%. Many medical professionals believe this is an undiagnosed condition. Even if long Covid is discovered, clinics for children with long Covid are booked months in advance.
There is no specific test for Long Covid. There is no way to predict which child will get it, so even children with mild Covid symptoms may contract it.
Dr. Jeffery Kanh, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, is surprised by the number of children exhibiting unusual Covid symptoms. He recalls a child arriving with heart failure despite being asymptomatic, and he believes that long covid usually manifests within 4 weeks of infection, making the situation difficult.
When children are diagnosed with the causes of these symptoms, they may turn out to be completely normal.
Dr. Amy Edwards, who oversees the long-term care clinic for children at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleaveland, agrees with these findings.
According to her, despite the fact that everything appears normal, the children are unable to engage in normal activities. The kids’ GI tracts are normal, and their immune systems are functioning normally, according to the doctors.
In the case of adults, however, the problem will be obvious because they will most likely develop organ dysfunction, which will be detected by the tests. This makes detecting the presence of the virus in adults easier.
Doctors have no idea why this happens to children. They are also attempting to develop a definitive set of symptoms to confirm long covid in children. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, some studies show that adults may exhibit up to 200 symptoms.
Health officials believe that the new cases of long Covid will provide young people with the motivation they need to get vaccinated.
Doctors at the Sexson Tejte clinic in Texas have classified children who have contracted long covid into several categories. Some children report severe headaches, brain fog, and fatigue to the point of being unable to attend classes.
Another group experienced issues such as chest pain, heart palpitations, and dizziness while attempting to resume normal activities.
Some of the children had stomach issues. The majority of these children have altered senses of smell and taste.
All-Day Energy Shortage
Jack’s lack of energy for her regular activities was one of his symptoms.
Most long-term covid patients experience post-exercise malaise, which was Jack’s issue. So if he overextends himself, it doesn’t even have to be physical overdoing; he’ll be tried. He could be upset about something or be doing something else, such as playing video games or watching television, and it will be enough to make him tired.
This has such an impact on children that many are unable to attend school for an entire day.
Edwards, the owner/clinician at the long Covid clinic in Cleveland, advises her patients to find a balance in how much energy their children expend each day. Long Covid patients cannot even attempt to push through. Some doctors compare it to a finite supply of energy that must be carefully allocated to essential tasks.
Some of Edward’s adolescent patients are exhausted just dealing with school drama. Patients with long Covid must consider every aspect of their time and how to spend it. They will run out if they do not balance it.
Anxiety is another common symptom among long-term residents. Some of this may be due to the underlying illness or their parents’ and doctor’s skepticism when they report feeling ill.
According to many experts, many teen patients are not trusted by their parents when they report feeling uneasy or even a minor change in their health. The kids are told that they are acting dramatic or seeking attention, and that all of their symptoms are in their heads.
According to Dr. Alexandra Yonts, director of the post-Covid clinic at Children’s National in Washington, some doctors dismiss the children and their symptoms outright.
She believes that doctors should pay more attention to the children and accept that long Covid is a serious and real problem. After entering Covide, two children in her clinic are in wheelchairs, one of whom has never used a wheelchair before. One of the children is on crutches. There was a child who was unable to use her hands.
Help Is There, But All Can’t Access It
Although there is no specific treatment for long Covid, the majority of these clinics provide multidisciplinary care.
Edwards Clinic primarily treats mental health issues, sleep disorders, physical rehabilitation, digestive disorders, pulmonary disorders, and other ailments. Acupuncturists, pediatricians, and nutritionists are also on staff.
Furthermore, they carefully plan out a child’s day so that they can effectively allocate their energy for the necessary tasks. They also meditate, do mind-body exercises, and get massages.
Different types of assistance are required for children. Edwards is confident that if the proper therapeutic practices are followed, all of the children can be treated.
However, many children are unable to visit the clinics.
Many people who work with Long Covid cases in children agree. They are concerned about the children who cannot afford the assistance. In some cases, their parents may refuse to believe them.
Edwards encourages children to eat healthily and get enough sleep at her clinic. However, providing healthy food for children is not something that everyone can afford.
Many families are falling behind, and long covid cases in children are increasing. All we can do now is hope that people are aware of this fact and take appropriate action.