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Masks not recommended for children aged 5 and under: New Covid guide on children

New Delhi, January 20

The health ministry in its new Covid guidance on children advised against the use of antivirals or monoclonal antibodies on children less than 18 years of age, irrespective of the severity of infection.

The Revised Comprehensive Guidelines for Management of Covid-19 in Children and Adolescents (below 18 years) issued today says steroids if used should be tapered over 10 to 14 days, subject to clinical improvement.

The guidance adds that masks are not recommended for children aged 5 years and under.

“Children aged 6-11 years may wear a mask depending on the ability of child to use a mask safely and appropriately under direct supervision of parents/guardians. Children aged 12 years and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults. Ensure hands are kept clean with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub, while handling masks,” it says, noting that while available data from other countries suggests that disease caused by the Omicron variant was less severe, there was need for a careful watch.

Issuing antimicrobial use guide, the ministry said Covid-19 was a viral infection and antimicrobials have no role in the management of uncomplicated Covid-19 infection.

“For asymptomatic and mild cases, antimicrobials are not recommended for therapy or prophylaxis; for moderate and severe cases, antimicrobials should not be prescribed unless there is clinical suspicion of a superadded infection,” the ministry said.

It added that anticoagulants should not be routinely used but all hospitalised children should be evaluated for risk of developing thrombosis and monitored for development of thrombosis and addressed accordingly.

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