COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Many children can be infected with the virus but not have any symptoms. Others can have symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, headache, fatigue, and vomiting/diarrhea.

COVID-19 is typically transmitted through droplets of fluid emitted with a person coughs or sneezes but can also spread if you touch a surface that has the virus on it and then tough your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Vaccines against COVID-19 virus are available to children ages 6 months and older. More information can be found on the CDC website.

For most children, COVID-19 can be treated with supportive care such as hydration, rest, and over-the-counter pain medications. In more serious cases, there are medications that work specifically against COVID-19 virus. Some medications, such as Paxlovid, are only available for older children ages 12 years and higher. Rarely, some children infected with COVID-19 can have complications such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

Common questions

covid symptoms

What are the common symptoms of COVID-19 in children?

Common symptoms of COVID-19 in children can include cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, headache, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea. However, many children infected with the virus may not show any symptoms at all.

How does COVID-19 spread among children?

COVID-19 primarily spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. It can also spread by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. Children can spread the virus even if they do not have symptoms.

Are there vaccines available for children against COVID-19?

Yes, vaccines against COVID-19 are available for children ages 6 months and older. Vaccination is a key measure to protect children from COVID-19 and its complications. Parents can find more information about COVID-19 vaccines for children on the CDC website.

How can I treat my child at home if they have COVID-19?

For most children with mild COVID-19 symptoms, supportive care at home is sufficient. This includes ensuring they stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and use over-the-counter pain medications if needed. Monitor their symptoms and seek medical attention if they worsen or if you have concerns.

What are the potential complications of COVID-19 in children?

While most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, some can develop serious complications. One rare but serious complication is multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which can cause various body parts to become inflamed. Other complications can include severe respiratory symptoms requiring hospitalization. If your child shows signs of severe illness, such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face, seek emergency medical care immediately.

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