COVID-19 can develop in any one—even children. While experts previously believed that the disease mostly spared the pediatric population, there have already been studies and statistics that prove otherwise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there had been 271 COVID-related deaths among children 5 to 17 years of age and 120 among those 0 to 4 years of age through July 2021.
The steady increase in the prevalence of COVID-19 among pediatric patients has led public health experts to urge parents to be extra vigilant and to take all necessary measures to protect their children from the virus.
Read on to learn about the common signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children and the strategies you can employ to keep your child from contracting and spreading the disease.
Common Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
Caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, COVID-19 is a complex disease that generally starts as a respiratory tract infection and often eventually affects the function of multiple organ systems in the body.
COVID-19 produces symptoms that run the gamut—ranging from mild to severe—and typically occur 2 to 14 days after exposure. The following are some common signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If your child is experiencing most of these, contact your pediatrician right away.
- Absent or decreased sense of taste or smell
- Body ache
- Changes in the skin (e.g., skin rash, discoloration of the fingers and toes, blisters, etc.)
- Difficulty breathing
- Digestive problems (e.g., abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea)
- Dry cough
- Fever and chills
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
How to Protect Your Child from COVID-19
Below are some recommendations public health experts have issued for the prevention, mitigation, and containment of COVID-19.
o Get vaccinated.
Encourage all eligible family members to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is available for everyone 12 years of age and older.
Vaccinations may soon be authorized for children between 5 and 11 years of age. Meanwhile, for children under 5 years of age, clinical trials for vaccines are already underway.
o Keep your distance.
Avoid places with poor ventilation, stay away from crowds, and observe appropriate physical distance from people who don’t live in your household.
It’s worth noting that social distancing is not the same as isolating yourself. The key difference between the two practices is that isolation restricts people’s movement within a certain area to prevent the spread of a disease. Social distancing, on the other hand, puts no such locational constraints; rather, it is a behavioral practice aimed at lowering the risk in many circumstances.
o Wear a mask.
If your child is older than two years old, have them wear a well-fitting mask when you go to indoor public places. Wearing a mask is highly recommended in schools for students, teachers, school staff, and visitors.
Experts further recommend that people wear masks especially in places where COVID-19 cases are high, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated or not.
o Teach your child to always keep their hands clean.
Get your child to wash their hands often with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Having an alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy is especially beneficial for when you go to places where water and soap may not be available.
Also, have your child avoid touching their face and using their hands when they cough or sneeze. Have them use a tissue, which they need to make sure to throw away after every use.
o Disinfect your home as often as necessary.
Cleaning sprays and wipes should now be staple items in your home. It also helps to wash stuffed toys: follow manufacturer’s instructions on how to wash and dry them properly.
o Stay in touch with your child’s pediatrician.
Talk to your pediatrician about the required vaccines based on your child’s age and general health as well as the schedule for routine check-ups.
If you suspect your child is sick from or has recent exposure to COVID-19, don’t wait to seek intervention. Call your pediatrician immediately for advice or instructions.
First-Rate Pediatric Health Care in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Westchase, and Lutz, FL
At Children’s Medical Center, our entire team stands with public health agencies and the families in our communities in the fight against COVID-19. Currently, we are offering COVID-19 vaccinations for children 5 years and up. We are happy to disseminate useful information that can help parents shield their children from this disease.
As strong vaccine proponents, we also highly encourage parents to work with our board-certified pediatricians to ensure their children’s immunizations are all up to date. We offer seasonal flu and pneumococcal vaccines, which studies show could provide a protective value against COVID-19.
To arrange a consultation with one of our pediatricians, call our office near you: Palm Harbor office at (727) 787-6335, Westchase office at (813) 891-6501, Trinity office at (727) 376-8404, or Lutz office at (813) 751-3131.