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The lonely world of children’s long COVID

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No one knows how many children are affected, but some studies suggest that about 4% of children infected with COVID-19 experience prolonged symptoms.

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Finley McDonald was 10 years old when he was infected with COVID-19 about a year ago.

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The infection began with a rash on the neck, followed by deep malaise and severe gastrointestinal problems. Over time, these symptoms changed slightly, but did not actually go away.

Even today, Kanata boys still suffer from headaches, tinnitus and abdominal pain.

“Since then, he hasn’t really been himself,” said his mother, Jessie Lynn McDonald.

Finlay is one of hundreds of Canadian children with long COVIDs, characterized by persistent symptoms that can last months to years after COVID-19 infection. No one knows how many children are affected, but some studies suggest that about 4% of children infected with COVID-19 experience prolonged symptoms.

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According to the World Health Organization, the number is higher in adults, estimated at about 10 percent. Up to 25% of people experience symptoms for at least a month.

According to a report released by the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table in Ontario on Tuesday, it is estimated that 57,000 to 78,000 residents of Ontario have experienced or are currently experiencing post-COVID symptoms. According to reports found, long COVIDs can be associated with about 200 reported symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain, sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.

More is beginning to be understood in adults about the post-COVID-19 condition, or long COVID, but it remains poorly understood in children.

As a result, it was difficult to find a medical professional who could help Finlay’s symptoms.

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“It would be nice to have some direction. I’m lonely when I don’t know who to call,” McDonald’s said. That lack of understanding makes the already difficult times even more difficult.

Between the blockage and his illness, Finley was absent from most face-to-face schools last year. His return to new school this year has been unsuccessful.

He returned home this week after developing headaches and nausea because his long COVID symptoms could resemble those of COVID-19. McDonald explained the situation to school officials, saying they were sympathetic but also looking for public health guidance on what to do.

A spokesperson for the Ottawa Catholic Board of Education said he needed guidance from a medical professional.

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“If the Ottawa Public Health Service or doctor can explain why the symptoms are behind, we will work with OPH to develop a solution to get students to school,” said spokesman Sharlene Hunter. I am. “For all COVID-related issues, we receive guidance and guidance from medical professionals.”

At the end of Tuesday, the school board was under guidance from Ottawa Public Health. “I hope that makes the journey forward a little smoother,” McDonald said.

She said it was difficult to find a medical professional to treat various symptoms of Finlay, especially because little is known about the long COVID of children.

“It’s very frustrating,” McDonald’s said. “I wish you had a medical team to go to them and guide us.”

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Meanwhile, she said she couldn’t take her to the test every time her son’s long COVID symptoms appeared.

“He needs to go to school for mental health. He’s pretty isolated.”

The number of adults and children suffering from long COVIDs can increase.

Susie Golding, who has been suffering from a long COVID in Oakville, Ontario and has started both adults, children and family support groups, has been new in recent weeks, especially from Alberta, which has the highest number of cases in the country. Say there are members. just now.

She says the Canadian government is generally slow to respond to long COVIDs, which is widespread when it comes to children.

“We need to be proactive in jumping into problems, especially in the long COVID information of children. This allows safety measures to be taken in the school, parents understand the situation and protect their children. It is important to take the right steps to better evaluate how to do it. “

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According to Golding, the long COVID Kids Support Group currently has 209 members.

Meanwhile, a science table brief released on Tuesday acknowledged that there is still limited knowledge about how COVID affects children, especially when new variants are involved.

“A systematic review of SARS-CoV-2 in children describes mild disease and generally good outcomes in this population. However, the prevalence and characteristics of post-COVID-19 conditions in children are , Not well understood. “

According to a UK study, 4.4% of infected children experienced long-term symptoms 28 days after infection and 1.8% experienced symptoms at least 56 days after infection.

The Science Table concludes that “health care resource planning, management strategies, and relevant government policies are needed” to manage the burden of Long COVID on “patients, caregivers, healthcare systems, and the entire state.” I did.

For now, McDonald’s can only dream of that kind of support.

As a single mother, she said she was having a hard time caring for her son and trying to find medical advice and support.

“As parents, it’s difficult because we’re supposed to make our kids feel good. We make soup and hug them. A year later, it’s hard and scary.”

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