Preventive healthcare through Ayurvedic medicines and natraceuticals, wearing masks, doing Yoga, monitoring for five warning signs, opting for tele-consultations and vaccination for parents are among the guidelines issued by the Ayush Ministry in a detailed document prepared by it to protect children during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Though infection is generally mild in children than in adults and most of the children with Covid-19 infection may not require any specific treatment. It has been observed that the prophylaxes (preventive treatment) is the best approach to save children from this deadly virus,” the 58-page document of the ministry accessed and reviewed by News18 shows.
The guidelines say that in various studies conducted so far, few Ayurveda medicines have shown their efficacy in treatment of Covid-19. Children with history of medical co-morbidity like obesity, type-1 diabetes, chronic cardiopulmonary disease, or in immune-comprised position; may be at higher risk, the document mentions. “Though the immunity of the children is quite strong but with many mutant virus strains emerging, it is necessary to follow all protocols related to Covid-19 to prevent its effect,” it reads.
The guidelines say that contrary to the adults, it is very difficult to plan for various preventive and management strategies in children due to their wide age range and anatomical, physiological, immunological and psychological differences. “The guideline is supplement (add-on to present contemporary line of management) to the Covid-19 appropriate behavior and precautionary measures and it should not be taken as its substitute,” the document says as a disclaimer, asking parents to consult a qualified AYUSH physician as all the measures advised need not to be advised in all children.
Advice for Children
The guidelines stress on children washing their hands often and wearing masks while outside their houses. “Offering a small reward may be helpful in case, if child is not willingly wash their hands,” the document says, adding that for children aged 5-18 mask is mandatory, while for 2-5 years of age children, mask is desirable, under the parent’s supervision.
Non-medical or fabric three-layered cotton masks are preferable for children and attractive, colorful and trendy masks can be provided to children for a good compliance, the guidelines say. It adds that children should stay at home in possible limits, avoid travel, and they be helped to stay connected with friends and extended family members through video and phone calls.
The guidelines add that Covid suspect children should not be in contact with their grandparents as elderly are at very high risk of the serious disease. Parents have also been advised to monitor the child for five warning signs — fever lasting beyond four-five days, decreased oral intake, child becoming lethargic, increasing respiratory rate and oxygen saturation dropping below 95%. “If any of them is present, one should take a medical opinion,” it says.
Measures to Take
The guidelines say children should be given lukewarm water to drink, ensure hygiene through proper brushing at morning and at night for children above two years of age, and oil pulling and gargles with warm water for children above 5 years of age. Oil massages, nasal application of oil, and Yoga practices like Pranayama and meditation and other exercises as per 5+ year old child’s capacities should be encouraged, guidelines say.
Ayurveda prophylactic measures and immunity-building solutions for children like turmeric milk, chawanprash and a decoction of traditional herbs (Ayush Bal Kwath), and Ayurvedic medicines for symptomatic children have been specified for the guidance of Ayurveda practitioners.
Children should also get adequate sleep and an easily digestible, fresh and warm and balanced diet. The guidelines also recommend Anti-microbial fumigation every evening at the children’s play area, cot, beddings, cloths and toys. “Help follow the new normal with positivity. Tell them (children) how it helps rather than how difficult it is. Assure them that this is a passing phase. Instill hope by counting the blessings,” the guidelines read.