As residents continue to weary of the Covid pandemic, head of the Paediatric Department at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) Dr Shivon Belle-Jarvis is advising parents, teachers and caregivers to remain vigilant to symptoms of ‘long Covid’ in children.
Since vaccines have stemmed the most serious effects of Covid many people have resumed their daily routines, despite the World Health Organization not yet declaring the pandemic officially over.
One of the groups that has reverted to normalcy is children, who have returned to schools and physical activity.
However, while speaking to Observer media, Dr Belle-Jarvis took the opportunity to warn parents and guardians against dropping their guard.
“Long Covid would include any child or adolescent who has experienced at least one symptom either during the time of being diagnosed with Covid-19 or shortly thereafter that affects them mentally, physically, emotionally or socially… that lasts greater than or equal to 12 weeks,” she said, referring to a 2021 British Medical Journal article.
Dr Belle-Jarvis added that her advice to teachers, parents and guardians is to speak to a healthcare provider if “you notice that a child is having persistent headache, dizziness [or] not able to participate in the sporting activities they used to”.
She noted that the definition of long Covid was only recently agreed to by the global medical field and asserted that “it therefore means that, as healthcare providers in the clinics, in the private practice, that we have to be alert”.
The paediatrician said despite the difficulty in determining whether a child is showing symptoms of long Covid or not, it must still be a consideration for medical professionals.
According to the SLBMC’s website, since the beginning of the pandemic, Antigua and Barbuda has recorded 9,106 cases of Covid-19 and 146 Covid-related deaths.