London, Aug 4 | Most children with Covid-19 recover within a week, only a small percentage have long-term symptoms, according to a study published in the journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
The study, by researchers at King’s College London, showed that less than one in 20 children with symptomatic Covid-19 experienced symptoms lasting longer than four weeks, and almost all children have fully recovered by eight weeks.
The most common symptoms reported in children were headaches, tiredness (fatigue), a sore throat, and loss of smell (anosmia).
Reassuringly, there were no reports of serious neurological symptoms such as fits or seizures, impaired concentration or attention, or anxiety, the findings showed.
“It is reassuring that the number of children experiencing long-lasting symptoms of Covid-19 symptoms is low. Nevertheless, a small number of children do experience long illness with Covid-19, and our study validates the experiences of these children and their families,” said Professor Emma Duncan, from King’s College in London.
The team looked at daily health reports logged in the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app by parents or carers on behalf of more than 250,000 children aged 5-17, with nearly 7,000 having symptoms consistent with Covid-19 and a positive test.
The team focused on the period from September 2020 through to February 2021.
During this time, 1,734 children were reported who had a clear start and end point to their symptoms and a positive Covid PCR test.
On average, the illness lasted for five days in younger children (5 to 11 years old) and seven days in older children aged 12 to 17.
Fewer than one in 20 experienced symptoms for 4 weeks or more, while only one in fifty had symptoms lasting more than 8 weeks.
The researchers also assessed the children who tested negative for Covid-19 who may have had other childhood illnesses, such as colds and flu.
To do this, they randomly selected a group of age-matched and gender-matched children with symptoms reported through the app who were tested at the same time as the positive children.
Children with Covid-19 were ill for longer compared to children with other illnesses who tested negative for Covid-19 (an average of 6 days’ illness with Covid-19 v/s 3 days with other illnesses) and were more likely to be ill for more than four weeks.
However, at four weeks, the small number of children with other illnesses tended to have more symptoms than those who were ill with Covid-19 (average 5 symptoms in Covid-negative group v/s 2 symptoms in Covid-positive group).