Children and adults react differently to COVID-19

According to CDC data, 1.7% of the first 149,082 cases of coronavirus in the United States were children under the age of 18.

HOUSTON – To better understand the coronavirus and its effects on adults, experts at Texas Medical Center are looking to children for answers.

Doctors at UTHealth and Baylor College of Medicine have teamed up to review the differences between adults and children living with COVID-19.

“Once adults who can get COVID get sick, they get really sick and need to be hospitalized,” said Dr Bindu Akkanti, adult pulmonary intensive care physician at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

According to CDC data, 1.7% of the first 149,082 cases of coronaviruses in the United States were children under the age of 18, even though they represent 22% of the population.

As of April, the CDC had identified only three pediatric deaths.

Dr Akkanti said he recognized fairly quickly that it must be due to the immune system.

“When they inhale the virus, they may still have the virus in their nose and in their lungs, but it does not activate the immune system as vigorously as it does in adults,” said Dr Akkanti.

She said it was essential to understand how the immune system between adults and children is different when it comes to this virus.

However, parents need to recognize that it’s not just their children that they need to worry about.

“Your child can contract the virus and remain asymptomatic, but some members of your family may be at risk of contracting the disease,” said Dr Akkanti.

With a new school year on the horizon, Dr Akkanti said parents have a lot of tough decisions to make.

“What you don’t want is making decisions based on your child’s desire, but you have to make your decisions when it comes to your family,” she said.

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About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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