How to Spot COVID Symptoms in Kids

Coronavirus symptoms are similar in adults and children, and can look like other common illnesses like colds, strep throat or allergies

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While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can get infected and spread the virus to others, even if asymptomatic.

Coronavirus symptoms are similar in adults and children, according to the CDC, and can look like other common illnesses like colds, strep throat or allergies.



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So how can you tell the difference?

Common symptoms

The most common COVID symptoms in children are fever and cough, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control says, but children may have any of these signs or symptoms as well:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Poor appetite or poor feeding, especially in children under 1 year old

Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or no symptoms, but others can get severely ill and require hospitalization, intensive care or even a ventilator. And in rare cases, they might die.

Babies under 1 year old and children with underlying conditions like asthma or diabetes may be more likely to have severe illness from COVID-19.

What can you do?

To monitor your child for COVID-19 symptoms, pay particular attention to:

  • Fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher)
  • Sore throat
  • A new, uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea, vomiting or stomach ache
  • New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever

What to do if your child has symptoms

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, you should:

  • Keep your child home
  • Consider whether your child should see a doctor and get tested
  • Protect yourself by wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and monitoring yourself for symptoms
  • Notify your child's school
  • Review your child's school or childcare facility policies regarding when a child who has been sick can return
  • Bring your child back to school or childcare only after they can safely be around others
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