While pediatric COVID-19 infections tend to present less severe symptoms than adults, there is still sometimes a need for pediatric respiratory services and pulmonary care during and after a COVID-19 case. For children who are chronically ill, physically fragile, or traumatically injured, the need for specialized respiratory and pulmonary care may increase.
Pediatric Respiratory Concerns with COVID-19
United Kingdom medical journal, The Lancet, examined the largest review of children with COVID-19 and discovered there is a very low mortality rate – two deaths out of more than 2,100 cases in China and no deaths reported in Italy as of this review. Less than 6% of cases were defined as severe, and only 0.6% of children developed respiratory or multiorgan failure or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Compare that to roughly 4% of adult cases.
Despite the fact severe complications are rare, Lancet researchers found respiratory outcomes for children in the UK were worse when children had the comorbidity of obesity or there was smoking in the household. There are not yet conclusive studies on the influence of other factors, including severe asthma or chronic respiratory illnesses, but children may be at increased risk for ARDS and pneumonia if they have significant comorbidity risks. They are also more likely to experience cardiac issues and shortness of breath for up to six months. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports 60% of children who contracted COVID-19 also experienced myocarditis, even if their COVID symptoms were mild.
Specialized Pediatric Pulmonary Care
For children who have trouble breathing during their COVID illness, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted breathing problems often linger for three months or longer, and children may need to undergo lung function tests and testing for blood clots if symptoms are long-lasting. At Nexus Children’s Hospital, our team of respiratory and pulmonary experts consistently monitor the latest research and best practices to ensure patients receive the most up-to-date and comprehensive care possible.
Another factor to consider is Long-COVID, which seems to affect children as well as adults. Symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and “brain fog” can continue for months after the initial infection. Mental health and behavioral issues can also be present, and our team helps children and adults navigate Long-COVID recovery.
Wondering if your child is experiencing Long-COVID symptoms? Take our quiz to find out. To learn more about Nexus Children’s Hospital’s pulmonary and respiratory programs, click here.