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Parents don’t panic… In the third wave, if children affected, the severity will be less.

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Hubballi: There are lots of discussions going on about the possible third wave of the Covid pandemic and health experts have been warning that in the possible third wave, children are more likely to be infected by the novel Coronavirus. But, to what extent should parents be concerned about their children in that wave?

This is the question haunting many parents. And they are worried about how to protect their children?

Pediatrician Dr Vinod Ratageri, one of the members of the High-Level Expert Committee for Prevention and Management of Covid Wave-3, submitted an interim report to the government containing recommendations on prevention and management of Covid wave three recently. He stated in an exclusive interview with that the infection would not be severe to children under the age of ten, but it could affect in moderate those over the age of twelve.

Dr Ratageri who has expertise in infectious diseases and a professor in the KIMS pediatrics department told if the people follow proper Covid behaviour and take vaccines at the earliest then there will be no third wave. But it all depends on our people how they behave and how diligently they follow the Covid behavior.

Dr Ratageri stated that the report registered three weeks to prepare; he was one of 16 doctors on the panel, which was led by well-known cardiologist Dr Devi Shetty. He stated that there were seven pediatricians on the panel, of which he was one.

He said they met virtually to prepare, discuss the recommendations, they considered all the aspects, took minor issues into consideration and extensively discussed, debated before including them in the report, it was hard work of continuous three weeks.

Dr Ratageri said in the second wave, children experienced some severe complications of novel Coronavirus infection, but less than what adults experience. In general, the children in the first and second waves did not suffer from such a severe infection.

“For example, in KIMS, during the second wave of the pandemic, 19 Covid positive children were admitted, of which four died not because of Covid infection but because the children had underlying diseases,” he said.

What steps must be taken to protect children?

The first step, according to Dr Ratageri, is to boost children’s immunity. Most children do not receive nutritious food, particularly in villages, due to poverty and other factors. “We stressed that the government should restart the nutrition programme. Children should be fed nutrient-dense foods. The advice was to start a mid-day meal,” he said.

The government accepted that there is plenty of KMF milk powder, and the panel suggested mixing some high-protein powders into that milk and giving it to the children. 

There are many NGOs who are happy to provide for nutritious rich food, be it in Laddu form or in any attractive form for children.

“We say that direct, ready-made, nutritious food should be given to children for at least three months, ideally for six months, with good immunity, and the severity of the diseases will definitely be less in children,” he said.

Dr Ratageri said that training for doctors, nurses and adult physicians is a very important aspect. In the worst-case scenario, they may assist. So, training them is a vital part. Giving them preparation would be extremely beneficial in the treatment of the children.

At KIMS, training is planned.

Dr Ratageri said that they are planning to conduct training for doctors and nurses at the earliest possible. “I hope KIMS will be the first institute in North Karnataka to have such a training programme. The advanced training for general physicians and super specialty doctors will last three days, while for nurses, the basic training will last one day and the advanced training will last three days, he said.

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