Some parents prefer children infected with Covid-19 to be warded

Under the latest MOH guidelines, those aged one to four can recover at home if they are first clinically assessed at the hospital to be suitable for home recovery. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Since Sunday (Oct 10), 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 kids 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, 37, said she would have preferred her seven-month-old boy to recover in a children's hospital if his high fever had persisted.

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

She 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 a doctor.

Dr Agnes Tay, a paediatrician at the International Baby Child and Adolescent Clinic in Ang Mo Kio, said: "Certain medicines we can't give to children below a certain age, like cough mixtures.

"We also need to know the weight of the children and the type of Panadol they take because they come in different concentrations."

Panadol is a paracetamol-based medication used to treat fever and mild to moderate pain.

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, Dr Tay added.

The latest guidelines are silent on whether pregnant women can recover at home.

They are not among the groups of people for whom home recovery is not the default, namely partially or unvaccinated individuals aged 50 and above, vaccinated people aged 80 and above, and children four years and below.

First-time mother Christine Ng, 28, who had Covid-19 and was discharged on Saturday from KK Women's and Children's Hospital, said: "I prefer to be at home, since it's more free and easy."

The accountant, who is seven months pregnant, added: "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."

Ms Christine Ng and her husband Bryan Koh are expecting their first child. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHRISTINE NG

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 the care options for pregnant women at different stages of pregnancy and with different health requirements.

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