26 September 2023

Needle-shy kids to be pointed at COVID

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The Department of Health (DH) has announced that a new medical device, manufactured and developed in Melbourne, is helping reduce the anxiety of some Victorian children when they’re being swabbed for COVID-19.

Minister for Health, Martin Foley said the Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute were trialling a new device, Rhinomed Junior, to test children for COVID-19.

“The device sits at the base of the nose and collects virus particles for testing,” Mr Foley said.

“It comes in a range of colours and designs, such as moustaches and cat noses, making the whole procedure a lot less stressful,” he said.

Mr Foley said Rhinomed Junior was currently being trialled with ‘Polymerase Chain Reaction’ tests at the Royal Children’s Hospitals drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic, which tested about 1,500 children per week.

He said about 250 children between four and18 would tets the device over the six-week trial and the results would be compared with ‘traditional’ testing methods.

“Taking a medical test can be a frightening experience for some kids, but as we know, testing is critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19 among young Victorians,” Mr Foley said.

Rhinomed lets kids control the rate at which the swab goes in, which increases their sense of control and makes the whole experience a lot less stressful.”

Mr Foley said alternative COVID-19 testing methods were going to be needed to maintain high testing rates in the community.

He said children, especially young children, could often become stressed during tests which not only made it harder to obtain a sample, but was also distressing for the parents and treating clinicians.

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