Children can become victims of the COVID-19 virus. Some months ago, the Delta variant made everyone worried, now we have the new variant called Omicron in some countries. Therefore, you need to stay alert about Covid symptoms in kids as new variants keep coming.
Many infected kids typically don’t become as sick as adults and some might not exhibit any symptoms. However, you need to take Covid-19 prevention measures for your babies and children. In fact, the Covid-19 might affect children differently, and you should know the symptoms of Covid in children.
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Covid symptoms in kids are concerning
Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics report, in the United States, 16% of all COVID-19 cases are of children. A recent surge in COVID-19 cases among children led to shortages of pediatric ICU beds and a record high in hospitalizations in some country regions.
The thing is, all children of all ages can get the Covid-19 virus, but they don’t become ill as often as adults. Most children show mild or literally no symptoms. Not to mention, some children become severely sick with COVID-19, such as hospitalization, being placed on a ventilator to help them breathe, and treatment in the intensive care unit based on research by CDC aka Centers for Disease Control.
Children with health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and asthma might be at higher risk of severe illness. Children with medical conditions might be at much higher risk of affecting the nervous system or metabolism, congenital heart disease, and genetic disorders.
Some children experience symptoms of COVID-19 even after their recovery.
Symptoms of Covid in babies
There is a higher risk of severe illness with Covid symptoms in babies under 1. The reason is their immature immune systems and smaller airways, making them develop breathing issues along with respiratory infections.
Newborns can catch the virus during childbirth or from sick caregivers after delivery. We recommend you wear a cloth face mask and clean hands when holding your newborn. You can keep the crib of your newborn by your bed while you’re still hospitalized. However, you need to maintain a safe distance from your baby. These steps lower the risk of babies getting Covid. If you have COVID-19, you need to isolate yourself from the newborn.
Infants who can’t be tested and have no symptoms can be discharged from the hospital based on the hospital’s policies. When you and your baby come home, frequent follow-up with the healthcare provider should go on through phone, virtual, or in-office visits for 14 days. Babies who test negative can go home immediately.
Signs of covid in kids
Although children and adults may experience the same symptoms of COVID-19, children’s symptoms are mild and cold-like. Many children recover within 1 week or two. Here are some possible Covid symptoms in kids.
Changes in the skin (discolored areas on the hands and feet)
Cough becomes productive
Loss of taste or smell
New severe headache
New nasal congestion
Muscle aches and pain
If your child has these symptoms of COVID-19, call your child’s doctor. Make sure your child stays at home and away from others except for medical care. Your child can use a separate bathroom and bathroom. Follow the World Health Organization and your government’s guidelines for quarantine and isolation.
If your child with COVID-19 can be treated at home, focus on relieving his symptoms by enough fluid intake, fluid intake, and pain relievers.
To test your child for COVID-19 may vary as per your country’s guidelines. In the United States, the doctor determines if your child needs to take diagnostic tests for COVID-19 based on signs, symptoms, or close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
A health care provider may use a long swab to take a sample from the nose. If your child is coughing up phlegm, this can be sent for testing as well.
What is a multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children?
MIS-C is a serious condition. In this condition, body parts like the heart, digestive system, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, brain, skin, and eyes become severely inflamed. Many children infected with the COVID-19 virus in the past have shown positive antibody test results, meaning an excessive immune response related to COVID-19 causes MIS-C.
Possible signs and symptoms of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome include:
Fever lasting for 24 hours or more
Redness or swelling of the tongue and lips
Redness/swelling of the hands or feet
Feeling unusually tired
Headache, lightheadedness, or dizziness
Enlarged lymph nodes
Emergency signs of MIS-C are:
Can’t wake up or stay awake
Change in the color of skin, lips, or nail beds
Severe stomach pain
If your child shows the warning signs mentioned above, take them to the nearest emergency department or your local emergency number. If your child is not severely ill but shows these symptoms of MIS-C, contact your child’s health care provider right away.
Can Covid symptoms in children last for a long time?
Usually, some people have a post COVID-19 condition. Covid-19 symptoms in toddlers may be mild and severe after recovery such as:
Muscle and joint pain
These symptoms may prevent your child from attending online school or performing her usual activities.
Encourage your child for COVID-19 nasal swab testing
Children may find Covid-19 tests scary. You have to convince your child why she should take the COVID-19 nasal swab test. This will help ease their potential fear and anxiety. When children understand why they need to take the test, they don’t cry and often become cooperative and compliant, creating a positive coping experience.
Children with COVID-19 but no symptoms should follow recommendations on how to prevent COVID-19.
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5 ways to prevent symptoms of Covid-19
Unvaccinated people, whether children or adults, need to take safety and precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
You and your family members should follow what the CDC and WHO recommend.
Clean hands to prevent Covid symptoms in kids
Among do and don’t in Covid-19 is you have to make sure your child wash their hands with soap and water. Ask your child to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and don’t allow your children to touch their noses, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands. Children should clean their fingers, thumbs, and backside of their hands.
Practice social distancing to prevent Covid-19 symptoms in children
Make sure your child avoids close contact of at least 2 meters. People without symptoms may contain the virus, so avoiding in-person playdates have the lowest risk. Ensure children are following social distancing from each other.
Lower your child’s risk of COVID-19 by limiting activities that require shared equipment. Encourage your child to talk with friends through phone calls or video chats. Clean surfaces daily such as doorknobs, tables, hard-backed chairs, remotes, light switches, electronics, toilets, sinks, handles, and desks.
Wear a mask or face mask
The CDC has offered recommendations, like putting on a face mask in indoor and outdoor spaces with a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. The compulsion of wearing masks differs depending on whether a person is fully vaccinated or unvaccinated.
If your child is 2 or older, ensure he wears a cloth face mask. Don’t put a face mask on a kid younger than 2. A child with breathing problems or a medical condition can find it difficult to remove the mask without help.
In addition, ensure your child gets the vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines can be given to the children on the same day as other vaccines.
Don’t go poorly ventilated and crowded places
Crowded places such as bars, restaurants, fitness centers, and movie theaters are possible hotspots with a higher risk for COVID-19. Avoid even those indoor spaces that don’t have fresh air from the outdoors.
Make sure indoors places bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors. Cover your child’s mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when they cough or sneeze. Chuck the used tissue and wash your hands.
Get vaccinated to fight the infectious disease of COVID-19
Authorized COVID-19 vaccines will help you safeguard yourself from COVID-19. Many governments have started free vaccine drives, so get two vaccines as soon as you can. Fully vaccinated people can build an immune system and start doing things that were not allowed otherwise during the pandemic.
Should children get COVID-19 vaccines?
A COVID-19 vaccine help prevent your child from getting an infectious disease that causes COVID-19. The vaccine may prevent your child from falling severely ill or experiencing short-term or long-term effects. Vaccines for children with health conditions like obesity, asthma, and diabetes can lower the risk of serious illness with COVID-19.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help your child attend school and carry on with playdates, participation in sports, and other group activities.
What are approved COVID-19 vaccines for kids?
In the United States, certain COVID-19 vaccines are available to children based on age group.
For ages 5 to 11, the FDA has allowed emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This vaccine has two doses, given three weeks apart. It contains a low dose used for children aged 12 and older. Research shows about 91% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 in children for this age group.
For ages 12 to 15, you will notice the FDA has also given emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine has two injections with the same gap as the previous age group. It has the same dose level for children with the age group of 16 and older. Keep in mind, the second dose can become available after six weeks. Research has shown 100% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 in this age group.
For ages 16 and older, the FDA has approved a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine called Comirnaty. This vaccine has two injections given in a three weeks gap. One can take the second dose up to six weeks after the first dose. This vaccine showed the effectiveness of 91% in preventing severe illness with COVID-19 in this age group.
Keep in mind, research is still going on for the use of COVID-19 vaccines in younger children.
Children and teens may not take enough safety precautions for Covid-19. So as parents, you have to keep an eye on your naughty children who love to make a mess. We highly recommend following guidelines that help you detect Covid symptoms in kids. You just need to stay calm and be a good role model for your child as your child may follow your example.
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Frequesntly Asked Questions
You need to take preventive measures such as social distancing, quarantining, ventilation of indoor spaces, covering your coughing and sneezing, hand washing, and keeping unsanitized hands away from the eyes. Always use a mask regularly recommended in public settings to lower the spread of Covid-19.
We don’t have clear evidence of why children have different COVID-19 symptoms. Some experts explain that children might not be severely affected as children often get colds, and their immune systems might offer some protection. Children’s immune systems interact differently with the virus. For example, some adults fall sick severely because their immune systems seem to overreact, causing more damage.
Both of these terms mean a person doesn’t have the symptoms. The difference is that asymptomatic means infected people but never developed symptoms during the infection. On the other hand, pre-symptomatic means infected people who have not yet developed symptoms but develop symptoms later. Keep an eye on Covid symptoms in kids during both of these stages.
Isolation achieves the similar results that one would get from quarantining oneself. The only difference is, those who get quarantined are the infected or confirmed patients of COVID-19. Usually, quarantine lasts for the upper limit of the virus’s incubation period, 14 days. However, isolation can last until a person feels free of symptoms or negative tests during the RT PCR test.
People are dealing with mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak mainly because of the loss of jobs and longer lockdowns. However, COVID-19 can lead to neurological and mental complications such as agitation, delirium, and stroke. People with pre-existing mental health who use medicine are more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection. These people are prone to severe outcomes and even death. Also, you need to take extra care of the most common Covid symptoms in kids.