Meanwhile, the government declared that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been ongoing for more than two years, will reach endemic status in July. Questions about measures and preparation remain amid the number of Omicron infections that the latest strain of COVID-19 continues to skyrocket with a steep daily death toll.
Among these worrying numbers, the main question among parents during the upcoming big semester is: “If my child gets coronavirus, what should I do? Will I take my child to the hospital in line, or will I risk it if it gets worse? Are there any other options?”
To prepare parents to deal with the outbreak of Omicron, The Equitable Education Fund (EEF) in collaboration with the Department of Children and Youth, Department of Medical Services, Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF, Thai PBS, Dusit District Office Bangkok, Khlong Toei Dee Dee and HFocus therefore jointly held a panel discussion under the topic of ‘How to deal with Omicron in children during the big semester break?’ The purpose is to bring all mothers to overcome the ‘fear’ that their children will be sick from COVID-19. It is for mothers to be able to wait in a safe, comfortable area with a doctor to give advice via Line Official Account to answer all concerns, which will allow mothers to be a partner of doctors in caring for children from home without the risk of coming to the hospital.
HOW DO I VERIFY the parent’s version of the child’s symptoms?
Dr. Somsak Akksilp, Director-General of the Department of Medical Services, has projected an increase in the situation of infected children since the end of last year. It was because children were the last to be vaccinated group, and no vaccine could be used on them at that time. In addition, if the child is physically healthy, the symptoms may not show and may eventually recover on their own.
“For symptoms requiring immediate hospitalization, the first was a fever of more than 39 degrees Celsius, the second was drowsy and did not suckle, the third did not eat, the fourth was rapid breathing, and the final was oxygen less than 96.”
If parents are concerned about their children under one year, they can take them for an initial screening.
“This will be the part that parents can trust more and take care of.”
The other is a syndrome that exacerbates children with coronavirus, including obesity, chronic respiratory disease, chronic renal disease, cancer, diabetes, and various genetic syndromes.
According to Dr. Somsak, there will be no significant symptoms if the child does not meet these criteria. The early signs are visible to parents.
“Most of the time, if the child has no co-morbidities, there will be no serious symptoms. If we notice the change, we will be able to limit the severity of the disease. For children, we recommend doing Home Isolation mostly. They do not have to follow up. Children are not like adults. But, if there is a co-morbid and parents, who are unhappy, can take them for screening.”
The number of infected children increased by 30,000 from last year. In this year, the number has risen to 180,000 in less than three months, with an average of 60,000 children infected with COVID-19 per month.Dr. Somsak explains that the main factor is from the mutation of Alpha to Delta and eventually to Omicron, which has an easy and fast infection rate. When the children of all three species were brought together, the total number of affected youngsters approached 300,000.
How to take care of the kids not to being distracted over the big semester break?
The fast spread of Omicron COVID-19 infections has caused worry during school vacations lasting more than two months. Will we be able to infect even more children? Warunee Punpanich Vandepitte, M.D., Head of Infectious Diseases at the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health, discusses the situation in this issue. Only 12 of the 900 patients needed to be admitted to the hospital in the first phase. The figure is merely 1.3 percent on average.
“Actually, we are trustworthy but not reckless.” It implies that if we know that children under the age of one year or children with congenital disorders are in danger. It is a group that has to be kept an eye on. We will administer and monitor symptoms if there are no bed limitations throughout your hospital stay.”
But from the information that Warunee has on hand, in most of the observations, children will stay in the hospital for no more than the first 2-3 nights. When the fever subsides, they can go back to monitor the symptoms at home.
“It’s quite comfortable,” Dr. Warunee confirmed.
‘Turn mothers into a doctor, turn fathers into a nurse’, a balanced coexistence with the pandemic.
There is a policy from the government that wants to encourage parents to be ‘Virtual Doctors’ to help alleviate the burden of doctors in a situation where there is still overloaded work. e question is how well the public health system and hospital doctors are ready. considered. If parents are informed and educated on how to care for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be able to relax and spend more time with their children during the big semester break.
“Because our globe has entered a new normal period, a portion of us must understand to function in our everyday lives.”
The Line Official Account system, where there are specialized doctors to answer inquiries and worries about various illnesses of children over the semester break, is one of the vital tools that will assist parents.
“We need to shift the word from panic to awareness because just 5% of youngsters are admitted to hospitals. While the other 95 percent of children can stay at home, we have already said that children under one year are screened and returned home.”
According to Dr. Somsak, it is important to stress that parents are informed, not panicked. On the other hand, the doctors must treat the children as if children are their own. The medical department must understand and communicate effectively.
According to Dr. Warunee, the elements that prepare personnel to care for outpatients, such as home isolation, are created by children’s circumstances and the Omicron strain itself. This strain separates into the lining of the airways rather of the lungs as it enters the body. The infection’s natural nature will not spread to the lungs, but it will make the youngster cough more. While the elements affecting the child’s immune system, children have two types of immune systems. The first kind is innate from birth, whereas the second type is acquired as the kid grows older and encounters numerous pathogens. It is prevalent in the initial immune system throughout childhood, but eventually changes to type 2. As a result, in the event of a COVID-19 pandemic, immunization of the elderly must be prioritized. So, we’ll vaccinate them in sequence. ‘Interferon'(IFN) is the name given to this immune system of youngsters.
Dr. Warunee added there is a lot of research data confirming that interferon is more secreted in children when the temperature rises. It is the body’s natural mechanism to heal itself by resting.Therefore, when a child has a fever and is hot, parents do not need to wake the child up to bathe himself often or ask for frequent meals but allow the body to recuperate. Body temperature will drop on its own over 2-3 days.
“The principle is that we will cure the poison of the fever. But we will not cure the fever.If the child has a fever, we should put the child to sleep. But if the fever is causing the child to quiver and tremble, we need to focus on the head compression. Most of the time, children are cold.The more you wipe, the colder it gets. We give the child an antipyretic first and then wipe the child. Otherwise, the child will suffer.”
There are questions and concerns, such as whether the child must get a vaccination or if the child has a fever, do we have to take the child to have a lung X-ray, etc. For this reason, the use of Line Official Account of the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health will come in and take the role of holding your mother’s hand like a doctor by yourself via video call. So, a medical professional can give advice starting from checking the child’s sleep condition to checking the heart rate and lung function. There are various activities of children when waking up to measure whether their physical condition has improved or not. As for the device to measure the oxygen level, whether it is lower than 96 or not, Dr. Warunee recommends that it is not needed at all. It is because the instrument will be inaccurate when measuring with children under three years old. Also, when the fever is high, the blood vessels constrict to keep the body temperature rising. Therefore, by the nature of the Omicron strain of COVID-19, it will no longer infect the lungs. The likelihood of pneumonia is rare among the tens of thousands of patients, and parents can rest assured.
“If parents are really concerned, take a video and send it to us. We will assess and call for a check by ourselves.”
The next point is whether a child who has been infected with COVID and has received treatment will be able to develop Long COVID or MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, which is a severe complication after a child recovers from COVID-19 infection).
Dr. Somsak said if the child does not have symptoms that fall into the conditions of MIS-C in at least two systems, parents can relieve their concerns.When the children have symptoms, they can be treated according to the conditions until it disappears.
“I would like to take this opportunity to understand the people, especially parents. If children have comorbidities, they should take their child to get vaccinated. But if there is no comorbid, this is at your discretion. I understand that you still do not want to take them to get vaccinated. But if taking them to get vaccinated, it will help apart.”
Finally, concerns about the Omicron pandemic among children to the possibility of COVID-19 end, Warunee concluded.
” We have been hit by the COVID coup two years ago. The COVID keeps mutating. So, we can’t let it mutate unilaterally. We must mutate as well. From turning mothers into a doctor and turning fathers into a nurse, it means being able to take care of and live together in balance may be better. Because we hope not to be infected, it will be difficult to control. But how do we take care of our bodies so as to live together in peace and keep our economy and society running? It is probably more important.”