How to Prepare for the Third Wave of the Pandemic and Keep Kids safe

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It has been more than a year and a half, and the entire world relentlessly continues to battle the pandemic. For some time now, a potential third wave of the Covid-19 infection and its impact on children is being discussed. Parents all over are worried and anxious about just how much kids will be affected in the possible third wave and in what ways they can keep their children safe. While some reports suggest that the third wave can be more devastating than the second wave, some of the recent studies seem to be contradicting these claims. 

Either way,  as parents we have got to be prepared for the worse and ensure that we take precautions and are fully equipped to handle the situations if anyone in the family is impacted by them.

MommyWize, reached out to Dr. Kiran Kinger, UK Certified Consultant Paediatrician based in Bangalore, to chalk out a list of recommendations and crucial steps and tips you can practice to keep your children and your family safe from the virus. Read on:

The Threat of the Third Wave: Fortunately, only a tiny percentage of children developed severe infections during both the first and second waves that required hospital admission. This pattern may not change in the third wave. Most children with mild conditions can be managed and supervised at home with teleconsultation with their respective doctors. A tiny fraction of children can have a recurrence of rashes, fever, and red eyes with some irregular blood investigations two to six weeks post a Covid infection, which we term as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS). Children with MIS can also recover quickly if symptoms are recognized early and treated suitably. There is no need for panic. 

Maintain Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB): Children have been restricted to their homes for quite some time. They may need and feel the urge to step out, causing some carelessness and potential exposure to the virus. This is entirely avoidable by the next CAB. Children need to follow the same protocols as adults. Rules such as masking, hand sanitizing, and talking with people who do not live in the same household by maintaining a distance of six feet need to be followed. In addition to these rules, keep your children away from sick people, even if that person is you.

Make the child understand that they always need to cover the mouth while sneezing and coughing. If any of the family members show symptoms of the virus, such as fever, cough, or body pain, isolate them from the children, or else they could contract the virus. The latest information says that the virus may be airborne; thus, it is essential to understand that it is easier to get infected. As soon as lockdown rules are lifted, there will be movement at malls, marketplaces, and family gatherings. Adults need to maintain strict CAB, with or without a lockdown.

Use of Masks for Children: There are no suggestions for the benefit of masks till the age of two. Even beyond two years of age, the covers need to be age-appropriate and fitting well. The kids, thus, have much lesser protection than adults. Adults who interact with kids need to ensure that they do not pass on the infection to them. With schools shut, it is not the children bringing the infection home, but in fact, they are acquiring it from adults at home or in the neighborhood.

Get the Jab: As parents and responsible adults, you need to ensure that you and all the other adults in the household are inoculated against Covid 19. You can choose the vaccine of your choice, as all the vaccines are safe. Each one of us is equally susceptible to the virus; thus, vaccination is mandatory. If you are inoculated against the virus, you are unlikely to spread the infection to the children in the house, even if you do catch it. Various studies have indicated that once an individual is inoculated, the chances of them contracting the virus decreases. And even if a vaccinated person does catch the infection, the severity of the disease is much less.

Disinfect Common Surfaces: Do ensure to disinfect or sanitize the frequently touched surfaces by children, such as handles, doorknobs, faucets, and also the furniture.

Provide Well-Balanced Meals:

  1. Ensure that your children follow a well-balanced diet comprising all the essential nutrients.
  2. Do try to improve their immunity by including vegetables, fruits, and nuts in their diet.
  3. Avoid junk, spicy, sugary, oily, salty, and processed foods that can take a toll on your child’s immunity.

Vitamin supplements given to kids below five years of age could do more harm than good. A well-balanced meal for children is more than enough to provide children with adequate immunity. Improving the intake of water, sufficient sleep, and physical activity are more beneficial than taking supplements that have their side effects.

Follow your Child’s Vaccination Chart: While you may fear to venture out to your doctor’s clinic, it is not wise to skip or delay your child’s vaccinations which may be due. Do visit your health care provider or pediatrician by maintaining all the safety precautions and get your child’s vaccine.  

Do not Visit Crowded Places:

  1. Do not venture out with your children to crowded places.
  2. Limit the number of visitors at home and the number of people the kids interact with.
  3. Try to keep your children engaged with activities, such as dancing, painting, or dancing at home to help them beat boredom. 

Ensure your Children Get Enough Ventilation: Ventilation is equally important for kids. Take your kids out to the balconies and terrace, and ventilate your house as much as possible. There are meager chances of you or your child getting infected from an airborne virus in a well-ventilated space. You can go out for walks as a family and indulge in outdoor sports in well-ventilated, not too crowded areas. 

To End With

Do not believe in information that circulates on social media, especially Watsapp. View information only from reliable and trusted sources and do not fall prey to rumors. The medical care of children is quite different than that of adults. Children require a dedicated space with more focused respect. We need trained doctors and staff, especially for intensive care, with appropriate medication and equipment. Masking coupled with sanitizing and social distancing are the only weapons children have until vaccines are available. Keep all this in mind, and steering through the third wave, if it comes, will be much simpler!

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