Singapore

Some parents prefer infected children to recover in hospitals

Since yesterday, home recovery has become the default option for children aged five and above as Covid-19 is not a serious illness for most of them.

However, some parents told The Straits Times they prefer their infected children to stay in hospital, where they can receive medical attention quickly.

The access to speedy care is also why some pregnant mothers would rather be hospitalised if they get infected.

A parent, who wanted to be known only as Ms Deng, said she would have preferred her seven-month-old boy to recover in a children's hospital if his high fever had persisted.

SYMPTOMS

He had tested positive for Covid-19 last Tuesday but most of his symptoms are gone now.

Ms Deng, 37, said: "I wouldn't mind if they had transferred my son to a specialised children's hospital. At home, the oximeter we have can't even fit his fingers. But I wouldn't want him to be sent to a community care facility unless he had severe symptoms."

Under the latest guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday, home recovery is not the default arrangement for children younger than a year old. Those aged one to four can recover at home if they are first clinically assessed at the hospital to be suitable for home recovery.

However, parents opting for home recovery will need to understand that children have special requirements, said Dr Agnes Tay, a paediatrician at the International Baby Child and Adolescent Clinic in Ang Mo Kio.

"Certain medicines we can't give to children below a certain age, like cough mixtures..."

Children may also not be able to communicate the severity of symptoms such as high fever and breathlessness and will still need to see a doctor, she added.

The guidelines do not say whether pregnant women can recover at home.

Ms Christine Ng, 28, who is seven months pregnant, had Covid-19 and was discharged on Saturday from KK Women's and Children's Hospital. She said: "I prefer to be at home... I have more privacy so I can talk to my baby, play classical music and let him know we are going to be okay through this situation."

Dr Natalie Chua, who runs the Natalie Chua Clinic for Women at Parkway East Medical Centre, told ST that recommendations for pregnant women who are Covid-19-positive have been submitted to MOH.

Proposed by the College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists with representatives from various public health institutions, the guidelines seek to clarify care options for pregnant women at different stages of pregnancy and with different health requirements. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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