Omicron Symptoms Among Children

Preliminary evidence and analysis states that Omicron is more contagious than its previous strains

The Omicron variant of Covid-19, first detected in South Africa, is said to be the most mutated version of the virus. The mutation of the virus enables it to become highly transmissible, evading vaccine induced immunity. India has reported 90,928 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours and the daily positivity rate is 4.18% as stated by the Union Health Ministry. While the number of active Covid cases in India now stands at a total of 2,85,401 as per the Ministry, 21035 cases of the Omicron variant has been detected in India. The arrival of the variant is a warning to all that assume that the pandemic has reached an end. Though experts are tracking the spread and complexity of the variant, there are still many uncertainties. Additionally, there is said to be a greater risk of infection among those who have already had Covid-19 or are unvaccinated.

Children have also been a particular focus with many researching if Omicron can lead to severe infection. Children are the most vulnerable as they are yet to receive vaccines, meaning they are unprotected. Doctors believe that symptoms of Omicron can be different in everyone. Children may experience extreme fatigue, acute muscle or body pain and chronic headache. Parents should be on the lookout for the following symptoms- high fever, persistent cold, scratchy throat, relentless coughing and difficulty in breathing. Unlike the delta variant where the loss of smell and taste was a primary indicator of being infected, patients of Omicron have not yet reported similar symptoms. The subtle, common indicators of the variant during winters make it even more dangerous. Doctors observe that infected children display moderate to severe symptoms. Some are even in need of oxygen, supportive therapy and a longer hospital stay as they are getting sick more than before. No substantial information is available on post infection complications, yet.

The World Health Organisation has emphasised and cautioned people against believing the message- "Omicron is milder" until more data is collected to prove the fact. Though the symptoms of the variant have been defined as "mild", medical professionals have warned that identifying Omicron can be more difficult as it often resembles the common cold. An unusual symptom- skin rash has been appearing in a small percentage of younger Covid Patients. Upto 15% of children seem to possess this unusual rash. Children infected with Omicron start showing any or all symptoms within three to fourteen days of catching the virus.

It's up to the adults to practice and implement proper Covid-19 rules to keep children safe. Children learn by example. In order to train them to follow these rules, it's essential that the adults around, follow them first. We know wearing masks, frequently using sanitisers, practicing social distancing and being self aware is the only full proof way we can prevent and prolong any variant from infecting them.

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