Children under 2 should not wear face masks due to suffocation risks

·2 min read

WEARING of face masks for children younger than two years old is not recommended, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, Department of Health (DOH) 7 chief pathologist, reminded parents and the public.

During her Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center briefer on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, Loreche explained that there are special considerations for the pediatric population.

She said there are reports of mortalities among coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pediatric patients, but they cannot release further information while an investigation is pending.

As part of these special considerations for children, Loreche said children two years old and older and their accompanying adults should wear masks when outside their homes, but wearing of face mask is not recommended for children younger than two years old due to suffocation risks.

Loreche said the face mask should be removed if a child experiences difficulty in breathing.

The same is also not recommended for children with cognitive or respiratory impairment and if a child touches his or her face more frequently while wearing a mask.

“In cases when children age two years old and above cannot tolerate masks, face shields may be an alternative,” she said in Tagalog.

Loreche said antigen and Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests may be conducted on children.

She said health personnel doing the tests are trained with specific techniques to make sure the child is calm during testing.

Loreche said it is best to consult remotely via telemedicine if a child has mild symptoms.

She said pediatric patients who do not have symptoms, or have mild or moderate symptoms, can be quarantined at home as long as they have their own room and bathroom and they are regularly monitored by a doctor and the local government unit.

“They must be accompanied by an adult if they’re placed in a temporary treatment and monitoring facility,” she said in Tagalog.

Loreche said the quarantine period for pediatric patients is the same for adult patients.

Symptomatic patients with only mild symptoms must isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms in addition to 24 hours when they are clinically recovered or no longer display symptoms.

For symptomatic patients with moderate, severe or critical symptoms, they must isolate for 21 days from symptom onset and another 24 hours with no symptom.

Asymptomatic immunocompetent cases can be reintegrated to the community 10 days after testing positive, Loreche said.

For close contacts who remain asymptomatic, they can be reintegrated at least 14 days from the date of exposure, regardless of vaccination status.

As to inoculating minors, Loreche said experts groups do not yet recommend vaccinating this segment of the population not only because of the limited supply of vaccines but also because there aren’t enough studies on the matter.

She said vaccinated adults can give indirect protection to younger individuals, including other vulnerable individuals around them. (WBS)

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