What are symptoms of COVID in children?
Illness in children can range from mild to severe, with the vast majority of healthy children having mild illness. Symptoms that are characteristic of COVID-19 include cough or difficulty breathing, along with at least 2 of the following symptoms: fever, runny nose, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell. Many other illnesses in children cause similar symptoms. Our nurse advisors can help determine whether your child should be seen for a visit, and your pediatrician can help decide what testing is needed.
What should I know about COVID testing?
There are several types of testing for COVID infection. The most common test, which Southdale Pediatrics uses, is a PCR test which looks for small pieces of viral genetic material. This test is best utilized when someone has acute symptoms of COVID-19, and your child’s pediatrician may suggest this test if indicated. There is great interest in antibody testing to help determine if an individual has evidence of previous COVID-19 infection. The American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC, and Minnesota Department of Health do not recommend routine antibody testing at this point as presence of antibodies is not indicative of immunity to the virus.
My child had a COVID-19 test at Southdale Pediatrics. What precautions should we take while we await results? How long until the results come back?
One of our triage RNs will call you when your child’s test comes back, results may take up to 7 days. While awaiting results, your child should not attend daycare or school, and should remain quarantined at home.
What can I do to minimize chances of infection for my child?
The best way to prevent the virus is to avoid being exposed to the virus. When people are in close contact, they spread respiratory droplets by talking, sneezing, or coughing. Practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. Outdoor exposures appear to be much lower risk than indoor exposures, so choose activities where your child can socialize outside.
If you are ill, stay home. Don’t be afraid to ask and suggest that your family and friends do the same if they are experiencing any symptoms of illness.
Evidence shows that face coverings for children ages 2+ decrease viral transmission. We recommend wearing a mask in any public or indoor spaces outside of your home, especially when social distancing isn’t possible.
Make sure your child is up to date on their immunizations–our office is open and your pediatrician can ensure that your child is protected from vaccine-preventable illness!
My child had a distant exposure to someone with COVID-19, what should I do?
The risk of transmission increases when contact lasts more than 15 minutes, and at a distance of less than 6 feet, especially if the individual who tested positive was not wearing a mask. Shorter exposures, even without a mask, are much less likely to cause illness and should not cause concern. We do not recommend screening for these distant exposures. In most cases we wouldn’t recommend testing asymptomatic people, unless indicated by the department of health or an employer. Symptoms typically develop within 5-7 days after exposure.
How do I protect my child if someone in my household has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive?
The CDC recommends that all individuals in the household quarantine for 14 days from the date of last exposure to the ill individual. If possible, it is best for the sick individual to quarantine themselves from family members. During this 14 day period, your child should not attend school or daycare, and should not be in contact with anyone outside of your household. We ask that your child is not seen during our well visit hours if they have been exposed in the last 14 days to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
I’ve heard that some children can get very sick due to COVID-19. What symptoms should I watch out for?
There is a rare syndrome associated with COVID-19 infection called Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). It tends to occur several weeks after infection, and is thought to be due to an overactive immune system. Symptoms that are concerning for MIS-C may include high fever for at least 3-4 days, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea, rash, bloodshot eyes, and neck pain. Please call our office if your child has these symptoms, or if they develop these symptoms several weeks after a COVID-like illness. Our pediatricians will evaluate your child to determine the likelihood of this syndrome and determine a plan of care.