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The Coronavirus, Children, And How It Affects Older Adults

March 20, 2020

When it comes to coronavirus, children, and the different ways it affects older adults, two new studies are very telling. Although older adults are still at greater risk of death from the new COVID-19 coronavirus, babies and preschoolers are at particularly high risk for developing serious symptoms when infected. 

Coronavirus/Children Study

The results from the newest study can be found in the online version of the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers reviewed the cases of children across China that were reported to the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Feb. 8 in connection with the coronavirus.

Researchers say that of the 2,143 cases they reviewed, 125 children reported under 18 years of age developed serious illnesses and experienced dire respiratory problems.

About 30% of the children tested positive for COVID-19 with laboratory testing. The other children’s coronavirus cases looked at in the study are considered suspected patients. Researchers based the specification on the child’s symptoms, chest X-rays, blood tests and whether they had been exposed to people with coronavirus.

Nearly 50% of the children had mild symptoms. This includes:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Congestion 
  • Possibly nausea or diarrhea. 

Nearly 40% of the coronavirus kids cases involved children who became moderately sick. This group showed additional symptoms including pneumonia or lung problems revealed in CT scans, but shortness of breath was not obvious. And about 4% had no symptoms at all.

What this does is support the fact that kids are at risk of contracting the coronavirus. Parents must not rely on the fact that younger people, with stronger immune systems, will not be affected. It dispels this myth. 

It’s also important to remember that children are the carriers and that it's especially hard this time of year to discern what type of illness they have when they're sick... cold, flu, coronavirus? It's best just to keep them quarantined. Many daycare centers are now taking kids' temperatures before they come in and if they have a fever, they're sent home.

Coronavirus/Millennials Report

This study comes on the heels of a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its researchers say 38% of the people with COVID-19 and hospitalized in the United States are between ages 20 and 54. They also found that nearly half of those admitted to the intensive care unit were adults under 65 years old. 

The findings served to underscore an appeal by Dr. Deborah Birx. She’s a physician and state department official who is leading the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force. Dr. Birx is asking the Millennial generation to stop socializing in groups and to take care to protect themselves and others. She cited reports of young adults in Italy and in France being hospitalized and needing intensive care after being infected with the coronavirus.

Coronavirus and Older Adults

All this does not change the fact that as COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, Ohio, and the rest of the United States, people aged 60 and over and those with respiratory issues or compromised immune systems are at the highest risk for developing complications. Also, if your immune response is slow or you have underlying health conditions you are at a greater risk for developing issues. 

The fact remains that everyone needs to take precautions during the coronavirus outbreak. You can protect yourself and your family members by getting them to wash their hands with soap and water throughout the day. You should take the practice of social distancing seriously and disinfect surfaces around your home daily. 

Older adults who become critically ill for any reason face a tough fight. That’s because older adults do not respond to an immune challenge as robustly as the young. What makes infectious diseases so hard to fight is not knowing where they’re coming from and who has it.

It can take up to 14 days before you start showing signs or symptoms of coronavirus. That’s why it’s critical for everyone to do their part. If you’re older and concerned about getting coronavirus, talk to your doctor. You may also be able to take advantage of our checklist that lists the health screening most often recommended for older adults. Inside you’ll find simple ways to detect and prevent the most serious diseases that typically affect older adults.

Avoid the Disease That Affects 25% of All Older Adults