Lang covid. Pediatricians: “17% of children and adolescents show symptoms”

The data comes from the first prospective study of long-term Covid performed on Italian children and adolescents, coordinated by the University Hospital of Parma, whose preliminary results are illustrated today at the 77th Congress of the Italian Society of Pediatricians. Three months from virus clogged nose, headache, fatigue and insomnia

19 MAY

17% of Italian children and adolescents who have had a Covid-19 infection show long Covid symptoms three months later, the most common of which are nasal congestion, headaches and fatigue, while the most persistent over time appear to be insomnia. The data comes from the first prospective study on long-term Covid performed on Italian children and adolescents, coordinated by the University Hospital of Parma, the preliminary results of which are illustrated today at the 77th Congress of the Italian Society of Pediatricians in Sorrento.

The study, which began in November 2021 and ends in March 2026, conducted at 14 centers across the country, has so far enrolled about 1,000 children and adolescents with a previous Sars-CoV-2 infection of varying severity. “Identifying the potential long-term consequences of long-term Covid and the association with acute infection is important for the management and rehabilitation of patients. The inclusion criteria for this study are very strict as they plan to enroll a large longitudinal number of subjects who had a recent diagnosis of SARS. “CoV-2 infection that suggests research in the participating centers to all those who tested positive for molecular inoculation over a period of time,” says the study coordinator. Susanna Espositofull professor of pediatrics and director of the pediatric clinic at the University of Parma, head of the technical table of infectious diseases and vaccinations of the Italian Society of Pediatrics.

Of the 670 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 who participated in the study and for whom the first data are available (51.5% men and 48.5% women), 31% had a previous disease, only 1.8% had need hospitalization, in 15% of cases the infection was asymptomatic. Three months after infection, 118 children (corresponding to 17.6% of the sample) show at least one symptom of prolonged Covid, among these 110 children (16.4%) show at least 2 symptoms, 84 children (12%) at least 3 symptoms .

But what are the most frequent manifestations of long Covid in the population that the study has examined? Nasal congestion (17%), headache (15%), fatigue (13%), poor appetite (10%), insomnia (9%), persistent cough (8%), abdominal pain (6%), confusion and loss of concentration (5.2%) and rash (4.9%). Among children who feel tired (equivalent to 13% of the test), about 1 in 4 feel the need to rest more than usual, 19% feel more sleepy, 11% have less energy than normal.

Some symptoms such as stuffy nose, poor appetite, skin rash tend to occur, in the vast majority of cases, in a mild way. However, symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, loss of concentration and headaches often show up with more prominent symptoms. In particular, about 43% of children struggling with these disorders complain of moderate to severe forms of fatigue and lack of concentration. In terms of the duration of symptoms, according to the data collected so far, the most persistent are headaches, where 10% of children suffer from it themselves 4-6 months after the infection and insomnia: 3.6% suffer from it after 6 months, 1.8% at 7-9 months and the same percentage of those who suffer from it a year later.

“Lang Covid is also a concrete problem in children and adolescents. Our research shows the need not to underestimate persistent symptoms that can cause enormous discomfort to the little ones with the compromise in their daily lives and the importance of a personal approach based on the symptoms. These results underline once again the importance of vaccination against Covid even in children to avoid distant complications, which can also occur in those who have had an infection that is not very serious in the acute phase “, concludes Susanna Esposito.

May 19, 2022
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