WEARING of face masks for children younger than two years old is not recommended, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas chief pathologist, reminded parents and the public.
During her latest Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center briefer on Friday, August 20, 2021, Loreche explained that there are special considerations for the pediatric population.
This, after she said there are reports already of mortalities among Covid-19 pediatric patients.
Loreche, however, said she cannot release further information related to it pending investigation.
As part of these special considerations for children, Loreche said only children two years of age and above are recommended to wear face masks when outside of their homes.
Wearing of face mask is not recommended to children younger than two years old due to suffocation risks.
Loreche said the wearing of a face mask is also not recommended if the child has difficulty in breathing when wearing it.
The same is also not recommended for children with cognitive or respiratory impairment and if wearing of mask causes the child to touch their face more frequently.
"Kung sakali man na hindi natin mapasuot ng face mask ang ating mga kabataan two years old and above, pwede na po ang face shield kapalit dito (in cases when children age two years old and above cannot tolerate masks, face shields may be an alternative)," she said.
Moreover, Loreche said the same tests conducted in adults (antigen and RT-PCR) may be done for children.
She said health personnel doing the tests are trained with specific techniques to be used to make sure that the child is calm during testing.
As to isolation, Loreche said if the child who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the Covid-19 virus, has mild symptoms only, it is best to consult first remotely via telemedicine.
She said pediatric Covid cases who do not have symptoms, or with mild or moderate symptoms only and cleared by doctors can be managed at home as long as they have their individual room and bathroom and are regularly monitored by a doctor and the local government unit.
"Kung kailangan siya na ilagay sa TTMF (Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility), kailangan may kasamang nakakatanda upang alagaan ang bata (if they have to be in isolation or quarantine facility, pediatric patients must be accompanied by an adult)," she added.
Loreche said the quarantine period for pediatric patients is just the same for adult patients.
Those symptomatic patients with only mild symptoms must isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms in addition to 24 hours that he is clinically recovered or with no symptoms already.
For those symptomatic patients with moderate, severe, or critical symptoms, they must isolate for 21 days from symptom onset and another 24 hours with no symptom.
Moreover, for those asymptomatic immunocompetent cases, they can be reintegrated back to the community 10 days after a positive test for SARS-CoV-2.
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 vaccination among individuals below 17 years old, Loreche said all experts groups do not yet recommend vaccinating this population, as of this time, not only because of the current lack of supply of vaccine but also because of the lack of enough studies for this.
She said vaccinated adults can give indirect protection to younger individuals including those vulnerable population around them. (WBS)