Kids With Covid Recover Fast, but a Few Have Long-Term Symptoms
Although most children with Covid-19 recover within a week, a small percentage show long-term symptoms, according to a new study of more than 1,700 British children. Researchers found that 4.4% of children have symptoms that last four weeks or more, while 1.8% have symptoms that last eight weeks or more.
The results suggest that what has sometimes been called “long Covid” may be less common in children than in adults. In a previous study, some of the same researchers found that 13.3% of adults with Covid-19 had symptoms that lasted at least four weeks and that 4.5% had symptoms that lasted at least eight weeks.
“It is reassuring that the number of children with lasting symptoms of Covid-19” is low, said Dr Emma Duncan, endocrinologist at King’s College London and lead author of the study, in a statement. “Nonetheless, a small number of children suffer a long illness with Covid-19, and our study validates the experiences of these children and their families. “
The study, published Tuesday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, is based on an analysis of data collected by the Covid Symptom Study smartphone app. The document focuses on 1,734 children between the ages of 5 and 17 who tested positive for the virus and developed symptoms between September 1 and January 24. Parents or caregivers have reported children’s symptoms in the app.
In most cases, the illness was mild and brief. The children were sick for an average of six days and presented an average of three symptoms. The most common symptoms were headaches and fatigue.
But a small subset of children experienced persistent symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, and loss of smell. Children between the ages of 12 and 17 were sicker longer than younger children and more likely to have symptoms that lasted at least four weeks.
“We hope that our results will be useful and timely for the doctors, parents and schools who care for these children – and of course the children concerned themselves,” said Dr Duncan.
The researchers also compared children who tested positive for the coronavirus with those who reported symptoms in the app but tested negative for the virus. Children who test negative – and may have had other illnesses, such as a cold or the flu – recovered faster and were less likely to have persistent symptoms than those with Covid. They were sick for an average of three days, and only 0.9% of the children had symptoms that lasted at least four weeks.
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