A study published in JAMA Pediatrics has shown that Omicron variant is more likely as compared to others can cause upper airway infection in children which could increase their risk of cardiac death. Young children are especially vulnerable to upper airways infection as they have small and relatively collapsible airways, according to the study. (Also read: XE variant: Watch out for these symptoms of Covid-19 in kids)

A number of studies have shown in the past how Omicron variant is less able to infect the lungs and is leading to less hospitalisations of patients with pneumonia who require oxygen and ventilators. However, according to this study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado, Northwestern University, and Stony Brook University in the US, showed that upper airways infection has increased during the Omicron surge and more than one-fifth of children hospitalised with Covid-19 and upper airways infection in the US developed severe disease.

What is Croup and how it could lead to cardiac death

As per the JAMA Paediatrics study, young children with Omicron are at a higher risk of Croup, which is a form of respiratory ailment that affects babies and young children and is technically recognised as laryngotracheitis.

"This happens because children have smaller and more collapsible airways, making them more susceptible to upper airway infections like croup. It can also lead to cardiac death in case of a severe infection," says Dr Santosh Jha, Med sup., Consultant Pulmonologist, Porvoo Transition Care.

Symptoms of croup are harsh noise when breathing in (stridor), hoarse throat, runny nose, mild fever, problems with breathing, the chest moving up and down a lot during breathing.

Researchers of the study said, "Children with severe upper airway infection are at risk of cardiac arrest from rapid-onset upper airway obstruction. They may require therapies typically provided in intensive care units, including frequent administration of nebulized racemic epinephrine, helium-oxygen mixtures, and intubation.

SARS-CoV-2 can induce severe paediatric sickness, including acute Covid-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, according to the researchers.

Dr Jha suggests tips for protection of kids from Omicron and its latest XE variant.

* Complete vaccination of your children as per schedule.

* Nutritious diet is must for the immunity of children, avoid junk food and soda drinks.

* Encourage them to wash hands at frequent interval and use of mask in crowded places.

* Encourage children to play outdoors instead of playing video games.

* Drink plenty of water

* Do not ignore signs and symptoms of flu like illness like cold, cough, fever or sore throat. Seek medical attention immediately.

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