Before news broke of two potential vaccines, most of what we heard about COVID-19 was bad. The only bright spot is that young children are less likely to get infected from the virus. They can still catch it and spread it, but at a greatly reduced rate.
Because kids are still susceptible, parents and caregivers need to stay vigilant whenever children start to show signs of illness. Runny noses, sore throats, coughs, and fever are common symptoms with colds, flu, and COVID-19 so it’s important to be able to spot the differences.
The flu can still be a deadly threat, particularly in the age of COVID-19. A compromised immune system resulting from a cold or the flu can increase the chances of contracting COVID-19 for kids and adults. While younger children have shown greater resilience to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they are much more susceptible to colds and flu.
What to Look For?
There are some general symptoms shared with cold, flu and COVID-19 you should be aware of. Higher-risk symptoms should lead you to have your child tested for COVID-19.
The general symptoms include:
- Fever over 100.4oF
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Fatigue, muscle, or body aches
Red-flag symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
Loss of taste or smell is more often a symptom of COVID-19. Difficulty breathing is a more serious symptom, though it is associated with other illnesses. Coughing, which could be a symptom of multiple illnesses, increases the risk of passing the disease to others.
What to Do?
Children experiencing just one of the general symptoms should be monitored and kept away from others. They can return to regular activities once they have been symptom-free for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication.
Children experiencing two or more general symptoms, or one red-flag symptom, should be seen by a health care provider. Your provider will tell you whether or not a COVID-19 test is necessary. If no test is needed,, the child can return to regular activities once symptoms improve and they have been symptom-free for 24 hours. If a test is needed, and the result is negative, the same rules apply.
If the test is positive, or they do not see a doctor to receive a test, they must be monitored for 10 days and CANNOT return to regular activities until after that period and they have gone 24 hours without a fever.
If your child has been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19, then your child MUST quarantine and see a health care provider. They can only return to regular activities after 14 days from last contact with the infected person. If they start showing symptoms, they must get a COVID-19 test.
What’s Happening Now?
While there has been positive news about effective COVID-19 vaccines, they may not be available to the general public for six months or longer. It is important to remain vigilant to protect everyone in your family.
Have frank conversations with your children, not only about the physical effects of COVID-19, but about any sadness or anxiety they may be experiencing as a result of schools being closed and their routines being disrupted. Find out what they know, let them guide the conversation, and make sure you’re honest about what’s happening and how they can protect themselves.
We’re Here for You
AltaMed has reliable resources about coronavirus and can help you separate fact from fiction. We also provide testing and information on how to care for patients at home, and instructions on how to quarantine at home. For more information or to schedule a COVID-19 test, call (888) 499-9303.
AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.