NEW DELHI : Conjunctivitis has emerged as a predominant symptom of Covid-19 infection in children in the current surge of cases.
According to paediatricians, watery discharge from eyes — a key feature of conjunctivitis — is being observed commonly among children affected by the virus over the past few weeks.
“Treatment for conjunctivitis is mostly symptomatic. We advise parents to clean the eyes with lukewarm water,” Dr Dhiren Gupta, senior paediatrician at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram hospital, said. He added that mild fever is also common. “In teenagers, we are also seeing body ache and weakness which can persist for days,” he added.
A single-centre study led by Dr Vipin M Vasishtha and Dr Puneet Kumar, which has been published in medXriv, a preprint server for health sciences, also profiled the clinical characteristics of Covid-19 in children. They found that young infants were disproportionately more affected than older children. Also, the researchers noted conjunctival involvement in 42. 8% of the affected infants.
Conjunctivitis, also referred to as ‘pink eye’, causes swelling or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.
Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director of Delhi’s Lok Nayak hospital, also told TOI that conjunctivitis in children was one of the “defining features” of Covid-19 this time. Among adults, he said, severe throat infection with sinusitis, running nose, muscle pain, extreme weakness and loss of appetite were common. “The good thing is that the disease is self limiting. Most patients, be it children or adults, tend to recover on their own without any specific medication or need for hospitalisation,” Kumar said.
On Monday, India recorded 7,178 new Covid-19 cases and 16 deaths due to the disease, including eight fatalities reconciled by Kerala. The sharp reduction in daily cases, as compared to Sunday’s 10,112 cases, was mainly due to reduced testing, sources said. The active cases stood at 65,683. The daily positivity rate has been recorded at 9. 2% and the weekly positivity rate was pegged at 5. 4%.