BENGALURU: The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, forcing children to stay indoors, have not just deprived them of proper ventilation and adequate Vitamin D due to lack of exposure to sunlight, but also exposed them to indoor dust, causing skin allergies. Doctors in Bengaluru are seeing an increase in the number of paediatric cases (5-10 age group) coming to them with these problems. They noticed a 20 per cent increase in cases of skin allergies in children over the past two months. A considerable number of cases are those with urticaria, that present red hives due to skin rash.
Dr Harish Kumar, consultant, paediatrics & paediatric intensive care, Aster CMI Hospital, said, “Sunlight has to fall on the skin directly, and this was not happening during the lockdown. The skin needs to sweat, which makes it healthy. Physical wellbeing is directly related to immunity which has gone down drastically, and we are seeing immunological disorders in children and they are catching infections.” Dr Kumar added that many adolescents have been coming to hospital with blood pressure issues and fatty liver problems -- ailments that are common among the elderly. “Every aspect of a child has been affected — emotional, physical, immunological and general wellbeing,” he added.
Dr Merriyet MB, consultant paediatrician, Prakriya Hospitals, Tumakuru Road, said many girls in their teens were reporting Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) — a condition in which ovaries release immature or partially-mature eggs, eventually turning into cysts. Also, complaints of persistent headaches and migraine were also being reported among teenagers. “Outdoor activity is an integral part of a child’s growth. Kids under five years of age require at least three hours of moderate physical activity each day, and those above five require at least an hour, which is difficult during lockdown. In the long run, this can affect the child’s growth, emotional behaviour and resilience,” Dr Merriyet added.
Dr Yogesh Kumar Gupta, Head, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, said the situation is such that even children who earlier could not gain weight are now being brought in by their parents with complaints of being overweight. “Many children are now complaining of joint pain due to this. Vitamin D deficiency is seen in many. We are not seeing respiratory infections now, but other problems,” he said.