Children account for 15% of Covid-19 cases in Karnataka | Bengaluru News

Bengaluru: Children below the age of 14 years account for about 15% of Covid-19 cases in Karnataka, state government data shows. Until end of day on June 1, the state had reported 3,408 cases, of which 504 were children. There are 322 children (16%) among the 2,026 active cases, who are being treated at designated Covid-19 hospitals.
Babies as young as four-months-old are among the infected children and while some have their parents and other family members, who are also infected, keeping them company in hospital, others are alone in isolation wards, battling homesickness and coping the best they can.
The silver lining, though, said Dr Rajani MH, deputy director, mental health, health and family welfare department, is that paediatric cases are the easiest to counsel. “My team and I have spoken to several children,” Rajani said. “They are fine. They have been given toys like building blocks and caroms to play with. Children are far more resilient than adults.”
Counselling sessions have revealed no significant stress say officials of the mental health section of the state health department. “They understand why they are in hospital,” Rajani said. “Initially there usually are issues like adjusting to the hospital, but later, with the support of family, they cope well. They remain in touch with family and friends over the phone. They have games, drawing sessions and film screenings to keep them engaged.”
But Dr KS Sanjay, director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, where five infected children were treated in March-April, said separation from parents during isolation can impact children psycho-socially.
“In all five cases that we had, the parents were also infected,” Sanjay said. “One parent, who was also infected, was allowed to stay with the child. We roped in other physicians to treat the adults. Yet, no matter how well a nurse or a caretaker looks after the child, they are no substitute parents. The presence of a parent is a huge comfort for a child. Recovery will obviously be faster if the mother is allowed to stay with an infected child.”
If both parents are negative for the virus and if the child is below six years old, hospital protocol allows one of them to stay with the child in the isolation ward. “That’s allowed when the child has no acquaintance or other relatives who are positive along with him/her,” Rajani said. “In some cases, Covid-19 children have been taken care of by their uncles and aunts, who have tested positive when parents have tested negative.”
In a case in Bengaluru, the mother of a four month-old baby boy, who tested positive after returning from Maharashtra recently, was allowed to stay with the child, although she was negative. The exemption was given considering the infected baby’s age, said doctors.
To kill boredom while being housed in an isolation ward, a nine-year-old patient from Padarayanapura being treated at the trauma care centre at Victoria Hospital, has made three TikTok videos.
“The boy tested positive, while his parents were not infected,” authorities at the trauma care centre said. “He had his elder sibling with him. As most children in our wards are asymptomatic, they have plenty of time to play. Some were even given phones by their families.”
The boy, who was discharged recently, recorded short videos of him dancing and singing and put them up on the TikTok app.
Although the hospital set-up was visible in the background, the videos revealed nothing about their Covid-19 settings. “The boy shared the videos with us before he was discharged. Unlike adults who look worried, irritated and even depressed during their hospital stay, children rarely complain,” authorities said.

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