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Corona children studies “Co-Ki”: First results of a Germany-wide registry on mouth and nose covering (mask) in children | Research Square

Silke Schwarz, Ekkehart Jenetzky, Hanno Krafft, Tobias Maurer, David Martin

Corresponding Author: David.Martin@uni-wh.de

DOI: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-124394/v1 Download PDF
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Background: The use of masks, together with other precautionary measures, significantly reduces the spread of COVID-19 infection; however, the effects of masks on children have not been widely studied.

Methods: The attitudes and observations of parents, doctors, and educators regarding the effects of mask-wearing on children and adolescents were collected using an online registry. Analyses focused on the responses of parents, the majority (87.7%) of study respondents.

Results: 
The majority of respondents (>65%) indicated that children complained of impairments and that they directly observed impairments in children that they attributed to wearing masks. Symptoms reported by respondents included physical (rashes, headaches, etc.), mental (fears, irritability, etc.) and intellectual (concentration and learning) impairments. Most respondents (73.3%) indicated some level of disagreement with existing mask guidelines.

Conclusions and Limitations: 
As measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 continue to be implemented, more research is needed to assess the risks and benefits of mask wearing in children. The limitations of this study include potential sampling bias, reporting bias, and confounding bias as well as lack of a control group.

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Background: Narratives about complaints in children and adolescents caused by wearing a mask are accumulating. There is, to date, no registry for side effects of masks.

Methods: At the University of Witten/Herdecke an online registry has been set up where parents, doctors, pedagogues and others can enter their observations. On 20.10.2020, 363 doctors were asked to make entries and to make parents and teachers aware of the registry.

Results: By 26.10.2020 the registry had been used by 20,353 people. In this publication we report the results from the parents, who entered data on a total of 25,930 children. The average wearing time of the mask was 270 minutes per day.  Impairments caused by wearing the mask were reported by 68% of the parents. These included irritability (60%), headache (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), less happiness (49%), reluctance to go to school/kindergarten (44%), malaise (42%) impaired learning (38%) and drowsiness or fatigue (37%).

Discussion: This world’s first registry for recording the effects of wearing masks in children is dedicated to a new research question. The frequency of the registry’s use and the spectrum of symptoms registryed indicate the importance of the topic and call for representative surveys, randomized controlled trials with various masks and a renewed risk-benefit assessment for the vulnerable group of children: adults need to collecticely reflect the circumstances under which they would be willing to take a residual risk upon themselves in favor of enabling children to have a higher quality of life without having to wear a mask.

KEYWORDS

MOUTH AND NOSE PROTECTION, COMMUNITY MASKS, MASK OBLIGATION, PEDIATRICS, COVID-19

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