Over the past year and a half, COVID-19 has been a hot topic in the news.
While adults make up most COVID-19 cases worldwide, there’s been a lot of discussion about how the virus affects children. Despite what you may have heard about COVID-19 in kids being "no big deal," it is just as dangerous to kids as adults.
Thankfully, children seem to be doing better in general when it comes to mortality rates. But there are concerns about the long-term health effects of the virus on children who are infected.
COVID-19 and MIS-C
One of those concerns is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare but serious condition that typically occurs two to six weeks after infection.
MIS-C is a condition in which different body parts become inflamed, including the brain, eyes, gastrointestinal organs, heart, kidneys and lungs.
Symptoms of MIS-C includes:
Fever over 101°F degrees or 38.35°C
Skin redness or blisters
Severe pain in the abdomen or chest area
As of June 2, there have been 4,018 cases of MIS-C, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Out of those cases, there have been 36 deaths related to the condition.
Georgia has developed as many as 249 cases of MIS-C, according to publicly reported data, while Alabama has experienced as many as 149 cases.
To stay up to date on information related to MIS-C, the CDC has created a page to educate parents and caregivers.
COVID-19 and Mental Health
The effects of COVID-19 on mental health have become an ever-growing, significant concern. When it comes to developmental milestones, skills and behaviors, infants and young children may show "backward progress."
They may also experience ADHD, bedwetting, change/worsening of tantrums, clinginess, hitting/biting, increased aggression, fussiness, irritability, separation anxiety and toilet training regression.
COVID-19 has also taken a toll on children and teens when it comes to academic performance — even among previously high-achieving youth. Anxiety, depression and difficulties with concentration have resulted in them falling behind on schoolwork, leading to more stress.
Other things children and teens have struggled with during the pandemic include:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Increased suicidal ideation
Isolation and loneliness
Coping with deaths of loved ones from COVID-19
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a great resource on their website showing you how to support your child during this difficult time.
Protecting Children: COVID-19 and the Vaccine
For a while, we had to deal with the effects of COVID-19 without a line of defense.
Now we have entered the dawn of a new age, and COVID-19 vaccines are readily available for most of the population.
Getting the vaccine will not only protect you but help build herd immunity.
For parents concerned about their kids contracting the virus, the Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for ages 12 and up. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) are approved for ages 18 and up.
For children under 12 years old, parents should focus on keeping them on track with their routine immunizations until a vaccine has been approved. Pfizer and Moderna have begun trials for children ages 6 months to 11 years old.
No matter how you feel about COVID-19, it's clear that the virus has had a direct and lasting impact on children and teens.
And with many of these conditions being lifelong — not to mention costly in terms of both time and money for treatment — the long-term effects are still unknown.
This is just some information on what we know so far about COVID-19 when it comes to kids' health. It will be interesting to see what happens as schools start this fall.
Will there be more cases?
The only thing we can do now is wait for updates as things evolve.
COVID-19 Vaccination resources
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers regular updates on the vaccine.
Read this blog: COVID-19 Vaccine: Whose Life Will You Save?
Learn everything you need to know about the vaccine in our free Health Library.