(WJW) – Doctors say long-haul COVID-19 symptoms could still happen in children who had mild or no COVID symptoms at all.
It was back in August of 2021 when Jessica Rosario, of Lorain, says she got the call from her daughter’s school band director. Her 15-year old daughter, Eliana, an otherwise healthy flute player, had collapsed.
“Her eyes were dilated. She was pale. Her eyes were very glassy,” Jessica said.
“I was able to feel my legs, but I couldn’t move them,” Eliana said.
Eliana would be diagnosed with an extreme form of long COVID, causing temporary paralysis.
She is just one of millions of children across the country who have symptoms, mild or severe, long after their initial infection.
“Most of the kids describe it as if somebody put sand or concrete in their legs and their legs became so heavy that they’re no longer able to move their legs,” said Dr. Amy Edwards.
Dr. Edwards is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. She says anyone who has COVID symptoms three to four months after being infected is possibly suffering from long COVID.
A recent study says more than a quarter of kids who get COVID may develop long-term symptoms, which could include difficulty thinking or concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, muscle aches, loss of smell or taste and circulation problems.
“Pain is a really big problem with long COVID. Whether it be headache or body pain or stomach pain, and in some of the kids, the pain can be debilitating so we have to work on different mechanisms of pain control,” Dr. Edwards said.
The vast majority of children recover, but in many cases, kids can have symptoms for months.
Eliana was hospitalized for eight days, then treated as an out-patient and confined to a wheelchair, having to undergo physical therapy.
She is now a high-school sophomore at Ohio Virtual Academy.
“I really love walking, in general, because I didn’t think I would walk ever again,” she said.
“She had a mild case of COVID and to see what she went through six weeks later and then 10 months later was something very scary,” said her mom.