Abstract
IMPACT OF COVID-19 IN PEDIATRIC AGE GROUP: A STUDY DESCRIBING THE EFFECT OF THE PANDEMIC ON THE CLINICAL, PHYSIOLOGICAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT OF THE CHILDREN

Dr. Devesh Bhomia and *Dr. Neha Bhomia

ABSTRACT

Introduction: COVID-19 is a novel infectious disease declared as a pandemic. It is rapidly spreading worldwide, infecting and killing thousands of people. It has been seen that the children comprise a small fraction of COVID-19 cases, clinical features usually include fever and cough, but a large proportion of infected children appears to be asymptomatic and may contribute to transmission. Differences in the expression/function of the cellular receptor for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) might explain the fact that why children are less severely affected then young adults and elderly people. Objectives: The aim of the present study was to examine the clinical, physiological & psychological impact of the COVID-19 on children from 5-11 years of age. Methods: A total of 200 parents having children aged between 5 and 11 years completed an online survey which included a set of questionnaires to measure the clinical, behavioral and emotional state of their children. Results: In our study, the data collected from the online survey filled up by the 200 parents showed that the 11.5% children were not tested for COVID-19, 33.5% of children were tested positive and 21% children were tested negative. It’s important to note here that 40% children in our study were asymptomatic, 26% had low grade fever, 10.5% complained of sore throat, 5% had cough, 5% complained of abdominal pain & diarrhea, 2.5% had nasal congestion and myalgia. However, nausea, vomiting and headache in children were not reported. Parents stated changes in their children’s emotional state and behaviors during the pandemic too. It was found that 48% children were impatient, 48% were anxious, 52% were depressed, 19.5% had nightmares and 35% reported to be angry most of the times. Decreased in diet was reported in 76% children. Irritability, restlessness, anger, anxiety, sadness, worries and being likely to argue with the rest of the family was reported by more than 30% of the parents. Children spent significantly more time using screens, and less time doing physical activity and sleeping. Conclusion: The findings emphasized the importance of developing prevention programmers to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on children’s psychological wellbeing.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, pandemic, children, psychological health.


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