After the country saw the peak in COVID cases amid the second wave of coronavirus, India is slowly recovering from the shock with a gradual decline in cases and life has started to get back on track. The dip may have come as a relief but experts say the chances of a third wave of COVID-19 in India are still very much alive. The fact that India faced a severe second wave of infections, which overwhelmed the health infrastructure, the importance of preparing well for the third wave of COVID-19 cannot be overstated.
For India, the 3rd wave of COVID might mean another chapter of mass chaos, exploitation, shortage of oxygen and whatnot, if we are not prepared.
What makes the issue stressful?
Top scientists, doctors and even the government has signalled that the third wave of COVID-19 in India can be more severe and that the worst is yet to come. Therefore, appropriate and timely actions are imperative. Caution is being raised that a potential 3rd wave of COVID will affect children, primarily due to vaccination issues.
Global experiences also suggest that the intensity of the third wave can be more dangerous, but by ramping up our efforts and improving the health infrastructure in advance along with vaccination, its effects can be significantly reduced. Death rates can also be controlled as compared to the horrific figures seen during the second wave
COVID-19 third wave symptoms
Similar to adults and older adults, children also experience the various symptoms of COVID-19. And with the 3rd being anticipated to affect the children more, getting to know about these symptoms becomes highly important.
Mild symptoms of coronavirus, which are prevalent in all age groups, include fever, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat and cough. Although these symptoms are some of the most common symptoms experienced by kids and might indicate less-worrying diseases such as the common cold, getting checked is the best way to stay sure.
Besides common symptoms, recent reports suggest some new COVID-19 third wave symptoms which are necessary to be aware of to successfully prepare for the third wave of COVID-19 in India. An increase in the number of multisystem inflammatory syndrome cases in children has been recorded in children infected with COVID-19. These include severe inflammation in various organs of the body, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes.
Prepare for COVID-19 third wave
Irrespective of whether it comes or not, we as a nation need to be prepared for it. Vaccinations, of course, will help in curbing down the infection rates, but there are other things as well which must be taken care of to reduce the impact of a possible third wave of COVID 19 pandemic.
• Increase Vaccination
To avert catastrophic consequences, getting each and every citizen of the country vaccinated, as soon as possible, should be the topmost priority while fighting the coronavirus disease. Special consideration should be given to children who are in the next vulnerable group.
Vaccination in rural India remains a huge challenge, which also needs to be sorted by the respective state governments. Further, behavioural dynamics such as perception, trust, norms, beliefs, etc. are also affecting vaccination drives and must be checked on if we wish to see a healthy future for all and avert the third wave of COVID-19 in India.
• Spread Awareness
Efforts need to be taken to make aware the children in the 12-18 age bracket living in rural parts of the country. This can be mitigated through the setting up of robust vaccination mechanisms and awareness drives at rural levels. Educating children will not just ensure high numbers in the early age bracket, but will also help in spreading the same to their own families, relatives and friends, to achieve a high total roll out.
• Governing bodies need to work on increasing the production of medicines needed for paediatric COVID-19 treatment.
• They should also prepare paediatric ICUs with ventilators and other necessary equipment.
• Fast-track clinical trials for vaccination among children.
Being Sensible and Responsible during the pandemic
Here are some practical ways to stop the spread and save children from the potential harm coming their way:
• Children, most usually staying with parents, can be saved from exposure by ensuring that the parents are fully vaccinated.
• Parents also need to understand that they are the ones bringing any potential infection inside their home, and therefore need to reduce exposure to the outside world as much as possible.
• Ensure a healthy lifestyle at home, for both the children as well as the adults, including a hygienic environment, limited exposure, home-cooked meals with a balance of all the natural vitamins and minerals.
• Educate children, even toddlers, using creative material about COVID safety, hygiene practices, and how the transmission happens.
• Limit social interaction for children with friends, relatives, etc. and restrict social gatherings where possible.
If the third wave of COVID-19 is imminent in India, its effects can be averted or minimised if we all prepare well and stay safe. While younger age groups are more likely to be affected this time, the danger is open to everyone in general.
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