Long COVID in kids: What the newest data shows

Between 10% and 20% of children who have experienced an acute COVID-19 infection ended up with long COVID infections shortly after, according to new research published Feb. 7 in Pediatrics —  a stark difference from the CDC's initial estimate of 1%. 

Long COVID is a condition experts are still racing to understand and even still trying to find an official definition for. This is partly because different phenotypes of long COVID cause different symptom presentations in patients, Amy Edwards, MD, medical director of the Pediatric COVID Recovery Clinic at UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, told Becker's during a December 2023 interview.

Research about the condition, its differing presentations, and therapeutic solutions for patients with long COVID is still emerging. These latest findings are important because they highlight the condition's prevalence among pediatric patients — which is different from estimates in adults — and can help direct future studies toward effective, safe therapeutic treatments for kids who need it.

Even in mild cases among children, severe symptoms can be common, and with no approved treatment for long COVID, managing these symptoms is key in the meantime, Sindhu Mohandas, MD, one of the study authors and an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told The New York Times

Similar to adult cases, children with long COVID also get coughs, headaches, fatigue and can lose their taste or smell, but the latest research suggests that children with the condition may also experience symptoms like feeling dizzy or having trouble with their heart rate.


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