As per the new guidelines for Covid management in children released by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), children aged 5 years or less are not required to wear masks.Those in the age group of 6-11 years may wear a mask “depending on their ability to use a mask safely and appropriately under the direct supervision of parents or guardians”.
Previously, children only below two years of age were not needed to wear masks.
The guidelines also state that children above 12 years of age should be treated like adults and have to wear masks.
Dr Neha Singh, consultant, Pediatric Hematoncology and BMT, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram however stated that “anyone can wear a mask when they need to be near other people”.
“Until a child is fully vaccinated against Covid, they should continue to wear a face mask outdoors in large group settings and keep a safe physical distance indoors around people,” Dr Neha Singh said
Wearing masks been increased from two to five years?“The probable cause can be that children playfully pull it down the nose and mouth, or are not able to maintain mask hygiene which makes them prone to catching the virus, said Dr Amit Gupta, senior consultant pediatrician and neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida.
Meanwhile, the guidelines also state that children below the age of 18 years should not be given Remdesivir for treatment of Covid-19. DGHS also prohibited the use of antimicrobials for treating the contagious disease of Covid-19, The Indian Express reported.
The guidelines, however, mention that “antimicrobials to be administered if there is evidence/strong suspicion of superadded bacterial infection. The child may need organ support in case of organ dysfunction.”
Mild and moderate infections can be relieved with paracetamol.
Another pertinent aspect has been the six-minute walk test for children and above 12 years if parents fear that the child has the infection.
“Place a pulse oximeter to the child’s finger and ask them to walk in the confines of their room for six minutes continuously,” mentioned Dr Gupta.