Long Covid symptoms in kids are not actually caused by the virus study finds
Great news for concerned parents.
Scientists and medical experts have long agreed that to most healthy children, Covid is usually a fairly mild affair, with many children not even developing any symptoms at all, and others getting away with just a sniffle or feeling a little tired and 'off.'
However, many parents have worried about the long-term effects of catching the virus, especially since some adults went on to develop 'long Covid' after falling ill with the virus, experiencing symptoms weeks and even months after catching it.
However, new data from the UK's Office for National Statistics has found that the condition is less common for primary-aged children than previously thought – with the study showing long Covid in children may not at all be as common as first feared.
Long Covid symptoms not caused by the virus
In fact, according to the researchers, symptoms of long Covid in kids may not actually even have been caused by the virus.
The figures showed that 'only' one in 100 primary-aged children (1 percent) actually have the condition, and that symptoms instead show just how common a headache and tiredness is for children, Professor Russell Viner, a member of SAGE and a child health expert, explain to Netmums.
Almost half of parents (47.5 percent) said their child showed at least one symptom of the virus 12 weeks after first contracting it, while 46.6 percent of children also had similar symptoms despite never having had Covid the ONS report suggests.
According to the NHS website, long Covid usually manifests as fatigue, breathing difficulties and problems concentrating, but not enough is known about its effect on adults and children.
And although 57.6 percent of children who were diagnosed with Covid reported long term symptoms, the report found that only 1 percent of under-11s met the clinical definition for Long Covid – that is a positive test, continuous symptoms for at least 12 weeks and an impact on their everyday life.
As for older children, just 2.7 percent of secondary school pupils met the same criteria.
Professor Viner added that the data emphasised "just how common symptoms such as tiredness or headaches are in children and teenagers, regardless of whether they had Covid-19 or not."
"They (scientists) found that almost all these symptoms occurred as frequently in those who had never had a positive test compared with those who had.
'These findings make it clear that research that simply counts issues or symptoms in those who have had Covid or those who haven't overstated the extent of major problems after infection."
Consultant paediatrician at the UK Health Security Agency and study chief investigator, Dr Shamez Ladhani, added:
"It is reassuring that the vast majority of primary and secondary school-aged children surveyed since March 2020 have not experienced long Covid symptoms. These new data should be reassuring for parents, clinicians and policy-makers."