Omicron variant causes cough in children: how to behave?

A new consequence of Covid-19 concerns younger children who have not yet been vaccinated. In fact, some American researchers have discovered that the Omicron variant causes coughing, especially the “seal cough”. This manifestation is the so-called “croup”, characterized by acute narrowing of the larynx, difficulty breathing and coughing similar to the screams of a seal.

What did they find out about children’s cough?

It was doctors from Boston Children’s Hospital who conducted research, published in Pediatrics between March 2020 and January 2022, at the large U.S. hospital, and found that the omicron variant causes coughing in children. The study showed that 80% of the visits to the emergency room of positive babies with croup took place during the Omicron wave.
The study analyzed the conditions of 75 children who arrived at the emergency room with Sars-Cov-2 and cross-infection during the two years examined. Most of the children monitored were under 2 years old, 72% were boys. Nine children (corresponding to 12% of the total number) needed hospitalization and four (5% of the total number and 44% of the hospitalized children) required intensive care. According to the researchers, the fact that the Omicron strain predominantly affects the upper respiratory tract compared to previous variants may explain the sudden increase in cases.

What are the symptoms of cough in children?

When the omicron variant causes coughing in children, a form of laryngitis occurs with a typical manifestation resembling a scream from a seal or a barking dog. In these cases, it is important to calm the child and place him in a sitting position to improve breathing. If laryngitis is accompanied by difficulty breathing, it is also advisable to get a medical examination. The pediatrician will be able to determine the best care for the child. In American research, croup cases were treated in the outpatient setting, by administering dexamethasone (cortisone) and supportive care. The rather high hospitalization rate and the higher number of doses of drugs required by the very young patients have led to the belief that Covid-19 with the omicron variant causes cough in children in a more severe form than other viruses.

What to do when children have a cough?

Coughing is always an expression of concern in parents, but not in all cases it requires medication. If the child coughs but does not have a fever, has an appetite, plays and sleeps well enough, it can be treated at home. It is useful to offer lukewarm liquids to drink, such as decaffeinated tea, chamomile, mallow tea with a spoonful of honey. The room should be well moistened and the baby can be put to sleep with a slight rise behind the back.

When to worry about children’s cough?

It is best to contact your pediatrician immediately if your child is under six months old, if it shows other signs of discomfort, such as loss of appetite, nervousness if he is not sleeping, and if he also seems feverish. The doctor’s visit may lead to further examinations or is sufficient to prescribe a treatment based on specific drugs, for example anti-inflammatory drugs.

In summary

How to recognize bronchitis cough in children?

The child may be suspected of having bronchitis if a dry and unpleasant cough occurs, accompanied by sounds of breathing and difficulty breathing. Often there is expulsion of thick greenish-yellow mucus with cough. The little one is unappetizing and down in tone.

How long can coughing in babies last?

Usually within 4-5 days the cough gradually relieves and disappears. If it lasts longer, it is definitely advisable to contact your pediatrician.

Sources / Bibliography

  • ::: BCH Medical Education :::In the fall of 2021, doctors began seeing croup cases in children with COVID-19. This first rigorous report describes 75 children and provides tips.

The information on this site is not intended for and should in no way replace the direct relationship between healthcare professionals and the user. It is therefore advisable to always consult your doctor and / or specialists.

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