Medical Technology

Acute Anxiety to Solid Foods in Toddlers could be a sign of COVID-19

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Alterations in the sense of smell and taste leading to avoidance of solid food may be the first or only clue to the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection in toddlers, report clinicians in California.

In a paper in Pediatrics, they describe two children younger than 2 years of age who suddenly developed an aversion to solid food around the time that they showed symptoms of COVID-19. The food aversion was likely a result of olfactory and/or gustatory dysfunction (OGD), they say.

In both cases, COVID- 19 is the “probable cause of OGD, given the clear temporal relationship of the OGD to infection, the lack of preexisting morbidity or concerns with feeding including normal growth and physical examination, the slow improvement over time consistent with adult data, and no credible alternative diagnosis identified,” write Dr. Kenneth Zangwill and colleagues from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

“Interestingly,” they say, in addition to the change in eating habits, one toddler became acutely hypersensitive to the smell of any fragrant products at the same time as the food aversion, another sign of disruption in her olfaction.

Six to eight months after diagnosis, both toddlers started to tolerate some solid food, but neither had fully reached their baseline intake at the time of last assessment, the clinicians say.

“This delayed and variable clinical course in our patients is consistent with recent studies in adults that have demonstrated that COVID-19-related OGD can wax and wane and one-third of patients may have persistent symptoms,” they note.

The researchers say food aversion in young, preverbal children “should be a trigger to test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

They encourage other clinicians to consider this diagnosis and publish their experience, so that a fuller picture of the appropriate management and prognosis can be defined.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3e9HFx4 Pediatrics, online December 21, 2021.

Content Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965272?src=rss

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