Background: To identify the prevalence and also the full spectrum of symptoms/complaints of children and adolescents who are suffering from long COVID. Furthermore, we investigated the risk factors of long COVID in children and adolescents.
Methods: All consecutive children and adolescents who were referred to the hospitals anywhere in Fars province, Iran, from 19 February 2020 until 20 November 2020 were included. All patients had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. In a phone call to patients/parents, at least 3 months after their discharge from the hospital, we obtained their current status and information if their parents agreed to participate.
Results: In total, 58 children and adolescents fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Twenty-six (44·8%) children/adolescents reported symptoms/complaints of long COVID. These symptoms included fatigue in 12 (21%), shortness of breath in 7 (12%), exercise intolerance in 7 (12%), weakness in 6 (10%), and walking intolerance in 5 (9%) individuals. Older age, muscle pain on admission, and intensive care unit admission were significantly associated with long COVID.
Conclusions: Long COVID is a frequent condition in children and adolescents. The scientific community should investigate and explore the pathophysiology of long COVID to ensure that these patients receive appropriate treatments for their condition.
Keywords: Adolescents; COVID-19; Children; Chronic; Coronavirus; Pediatrics.
© 2021. Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine.