Omicron in children: 5 frequently asked questions

The increase in cases of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant have generated a lot of concern and doubts about how to care for our little ones. Here we answer the five frequently asked questions about this variant in children.

In the last week we have seen how Covid-19 infections have increased, only on January 6th, the Ministry of Health reported 25 thousand 821 new cases. This type of news alarms us; however, we must remain calm and not disregard preventive measures.

Dr. Rafael Bojalil, a researcher at the Department of Health Care of the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) Xochimilco Unit, explained that Omicron, unlike other variants, is concentrated in the upper respiratory tract: nose, throat and larynx. Therefore, it is more contagious and the symptoms are very similar to those of a common cold.

“Omicron does not settle in the lungs, it settles in the nose and throughout the upper respiratory tract up to the bronchi; that is why it is more contagious, the virus is closer to the exit, to the breath”.

We recommend: Omicron and back to school

Are the symptoms of Omicron the same in children?

Dr. Bojalil commented that the symptoms of Covid-19, in its Omicron variant, are the same in adults and children.

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Fever (not always)
Mom taking care of child
The Omicron symptoms are the same in adults and children. Photo: Shutterstock

When should I see a doctor?

Due to the similarity of the symptoms with a common cold, in case of any flu symptoms we should go to the doctor, so that he can evaluate us and, if necessary, have the test.

“Today, anyone who has symptoms of respiratory infection should be considered a Covid suspect”.

Dr. Rafael Bojalil

Are the tests for all ages?

Although it can be annoying for children to have the test to detect Covid-19, it can be done at any age. Dr. Bojalil pointed out that it has been observed that there is little sensitivity of the antigen tests to the Omicron variant; he recommends having the PCR test.

“We have been seeing that the antigen tests are very insensitive for this new variant, Omicron, and they give us many false negatives, so we would have to do PCR tests immediately after detecting contact with a positive case two or three days later. Doing two tests on a kid can be annoying and expensive. They can wait in lockdown for two to three days after knowing that he has been close to a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, then carry out the test”.

Tests to detect Covid-19 are for all ages Photo: Shutterstock
Tests to detect Covid-19 are for all ages. Photo: Shutterstock

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My child tested positive, what do I do?

If your child tested positive for Covid-19, it is very important that the pediatrician give him the proper follow-up and allocate an area of the house so that he can undergo his treatment.

The doctor commented that isolation can affect children emotionally, so he recommends that all the family follow preventive measures: assign an area of the home, but without keeping him isolated from other parts of the house.

He stressed that only one family member must care for the minor; the caregiver must be vaccinated against Covid-19 and not have comorbidities, so that he is not so vulnerable.

Isolating children can affect them emotionally Photo: Shutterstock
Isolating children can affect them emotionally Photo: Shutterstock

Cloth face masks: do they work against Omicron?

Because this variant focuses on the upper airways, cloth face coverings are not sufficiently protective because they are very thin. The UAM Xochimilco researcher recommended wearing the N95 and KN95 masks.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has indicated that to protect yourself from the Omicron variant, it is recommended to wear N95 masks, since they filter up to 95% of the particles in the air and fit perfectly.

It may interest you: When should I vaccinate my baby against influenza?

Preventive actions

Given this increase in infections, we must follow prevention measures, do not disregard them:

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Wear a face mask
  • Avoid crowded places and gatherings
  • At school, do not share food
  • Get vaccinated against Covid-19 (vaccine-approved population)

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version: Here