The government has issued revised guidelines for children below the age of 18 years. The new guidelines come amid the rise in the number of coronavirus cases, which is mainly attributed to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. A group of experts has reviewed the earlier guidelines. As per the new guidelines, masks are not recommended for children who are five years or below. However, those in the age group of 6-11 years may wear it but that should be done safely and appropriately under the direct supervision of their parents.
The guidelines stated that all children above the age of 12 years must wear a mask just like adults.
Emphasising the need for post-Covid care, the guidelines said that in case steroids are used, they should be tapered over 10-14 days which will be subjected to clinical improvement.
It also said that antimicrobials are not recommended for therapy or prophylaxis in asymptomatic and mild cases. Antimicrobials should not be prescribed in moderate and severe cases unless there is clinical suspicion of a superadded infection.
Irrespective of the severity of COVID-19 infection in children less than 18 years of age, the use of antivirals or monoclonal antibodies is not recommended.
Some of the key points of new guidelines:
- COVID-19 patients must wear triple-layer masks.
- Steroids are harmful in asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19.
- Right time, right dose, and right duration of steroids are very important while being used.
- Corticosteroids may be used in rapidly progressive moderate and all severe cases.
- Depending on clinical assessment on daily basis, corticosteroids may be continued for five to seven days.
- Steroids should be avoided during the initial 3-5 days since the onset of symptoms as it prolongs viral shedding.
- Children with mild disease or asymptomatic infection should get routine child care and if eligible vaccination as well.