Long COVID-19 in kids: 4 physician takeaways

Physicians face numerous challenges in treating pediatric patients with long COVID-19, including doubts that the condition can affect children, according to an April 11 article from U.S. News & World Report.

Four things to know:

1. Physicians said there is still a lot of skepticism that COVID-19 and long COVID-19 pose a threat to children. Estimates suggest up to 25 percent of kids who contract the virus develop prolonged symptoms, according to Sara Kristen Sexson Tejtel, MD, PhD, director of the COVID-19 Return to Activity Clinic and of preventive cardiology at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.

2. Uzma Hasan, MD, medical director of the Pediatric Post-COVID Care Program and division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., said she often sees parents or patients crying in her COVID-19 recovery clinic "because they're just so relieved to find somebody who will spend the time listening to them."

"I think we have our work cut out for us to kind of create awareness that this is the real deal," she told U.S. News. 

3. Female children tend to have more severe long COVID-19 cases, and many kids with prolonged symptoms often had mild or asymptomatic infections, according to Dr. Hasan. Most of the children she treats are unvaccinated. Anecdotally, Dr. Hasan said the majority of kids who subsequently get vaccinated see a significant improvement in symptoms within six to eight weeks.

4. A definitive cure for long COVID-19 remains elusive. Clinicians in the Pediatric COVID Recovery Clinic at UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital rely on medications, diet adjustments, mental health services and autonomic rehabilitation to treat long COVID-19, according to Amy Edwards, MD, clinic director and associate medical director for infection control at the Cleveland-based hospital. The hope is that most children's bodies can "bounce back and health themselves," though some children require long-term, chronic management of prolonged symptoms. 

"Those are the kids that I'm genuinely worried about," Dr. Edwards told U.S. News. "I hope one day that we do find a real solid cure instead of kind of this mishmash of trying a bunch of experimenting."

Read the full article here


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