Concerns over use of masks as shield to protect children

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Highlights

  • Peadiatricians say there is no scientific basis to argue that it would be not safe to use masks for children
  • Warn children below six years should not lower their masks
  • Doctors emphasised on three things to possess a better immunity in children---nutrition, good sleep and vaccination

Hyderabad: As masks have been acting as a shield to protect people from the deadly Covid, especially children, some concerns have been raised over their use attributing to no development of natural immunity among children.

But, pediatrician say there is no scientific basis to argue that it would be not safe to use masks for children. They say children have a better immune response to the virus than adults, which is due to their innate immunity.

They warn that children should not lower their mask as it is the only shield to protect them from the pandemic and from the potential third wave. They observe when children are exposed to the outside environment; it provides an additional natural immunity to them as they are exposed to pathogens.

Though kids are in their cocooned environment now, they are exposed to pathogens through food and other various ways, which help them build natural immunity anyhow. Therefore, they advise not to remove masks for children below six years.

Underlining the importance of masks, Dr Sandeep, consultant- pediatrician and neo-natologist, BBR Super-Specialty Hospital, told The Hans India that removing taboos in parents is more important. Proper training and techniques to children about wearing a mask is the need of the hour.

Shared Dr Rajesh a consultant Pediatrician: "Children get vaccinated at a particular age for different diseases. The vaccinations help them build immunity. Now they have to get vaccinated as well against Covid. As their immunity is always higher when they get vaccinated and cross immunity occurs which helps children to fight against the virus."

Dr A Kiranmayi, Chief Clinical Dietitian, Apollo Cradle Hospital, Jubilee hills, said immunity has got nothing to do with children wearing masks. But it's important to bring awareness among children. Prevention is always better than cure.

"Currently we are placing children in a very different environment which they are not used to. So it's important to keep them safe." She emphasised on helping them play in a safer and a hygienic place so that they are psychologically not stressed. If they are continuously forced to wear masks, the oxygen supply is reduced to the brain cells. Children will start feeling suffocated due to this. They might feel stressed and hence, decrease in the immunity can be observed.

Meanwhile, doctors emphasised on three things to possess a better immunity in children---nutrition, good sleep and vaccination. "We need to provide babies with a variety of foods from different food groups.

Protein, fat, carbohydrates and even minerals and vitamins in solid food are very important in improving the health of the immune system. The vaccination schedule is carefully planned to take into account the developing immune system.

If we vaccinate too early, the baby has insufficient ability to produce antibodies. If too late, then the risk of a child being infected without the protection of immunity becomes greater." explained Dr Kiranmayi.

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