Paediatrics / Dyspnoea, cough and headache: some of the Long Covid signs in children
Paediatrics and Long Covid: “Only 5% of children get Covid and of these 6% show symptoms”
“Although it is a benign disease for most of them, some show signs and symptoms such as headache, cough, dyspnoea even weeks and months after getting negative.
In order to provide answers to families and family paediatricians, we have set up the outpatient clinic for the follow-up of children cured of Covid.
This space was created at the Luigi Vanvitelli Hospital and is the first outpatient clinic in Campania.
Michele Miraglia del Giudice, Professor of Paediatrics at the University Hospital Luigi Vanvitelli in Naples, where he is in charge of the outpatient clinic for childhood respiratory diseases, told us.
Long Covid in children: Prof. Miraglia’s analysis
“The initiative has just started – Miraglia tells us – but it is carried out by the Society of Childhood Respiratory Diseases (Simri) throughout Italy to map the differences and the cases of long Covid among children throughout the country.
The aim of the outpatient clinic led by the professor of paediatrics is to check the respiratory function of children affected by Covid infection, in their remission phase, through various examinations: “Spirometry, the bronchodilation test, the gait test by which we measure oxygen saturation and lung ultrasound.
The latter is very important,” explains Miraglia, “because it gives us the results of the infection.
The children also have a pneumological examination when they enter the follow-up clinic.
Those involved in the activities of the Campania laboratory are from 5 years of age upwards, in fact Miraglia points out that “spirometry can be carried out correctly from this age onwards, but with oscillometry we are also evaluating children of pre-school age, thus extending the support of the outpatient clinic to a wider number of patients”.
Why investigate Long Covid in children, who get very little and often no symptoms?
Miraglia answers without being alarmist: ‘There have been cases of bronchial hyper-reactivity, ultrasound changes in which focal lines typical of SARS-CoV-2 have emerged, the presence of an irregular pleural line.
These are signs that the infection has left heavy traces even though it has not shown any acute manifestations.
The important thing with these children,’ adds the Vanvitelli professor, ‘is to monitor them, checking whether these alterations resolve or last over time.
After monitoring, the child will return to the outpatient clinic after six months to see if these changes and/or symptoms have remained.
We hope not to find anything, but there are symptoms that have appeared after the infection and it is important to monitor them to avoid them becoming chronic.
With regard to the different characterisations of the post/Long Covid syndrome between one territory and another, Professor Miraglia’s working and research group has already conducted a survey and two surveys, in 2020 and 2021: “We have recorded differences between Central, Southern and Northern Italy, also because of how these territories were affected very differently between the first and second wave.
Now we expect to elaborate and carry out another survey – he concludes – in which the follow-up activities of the long Covid outpatient clinic will be present”.