Since the start of the pandemic, it has been suspected that COVID-19 affects the younger population differently. So what does the disease presentation look like in the youngest population? Are the symptoms of COVID-19 any different in children? Keep reading for more.
Covid Symptoms in Kids
Younger children tend to have milder COVID-19 symptoms than older children, teens, and adults. In fact, most children tend to have COVID-19 infections that are entirely asymptomatic, meaning they do not experience any COVID-19 symptoms at all.
Some children may experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea in addition to a slight fever, cough, cold, or sore throat. Other possible symptoms include headaches, body aches, chills, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
Like adults, some patients are susceptible to temporarily losing their sense of taste and smell. Children who lose these senses should have them fully restored within a couple of weeks, although longer-lasting instances of smell and taste loss have occurred.
Similarly, some children have experienced a variety of mysterious ongoing symptoms in the aftermath of a COVID-19 infection, also informally known as “long Covid.” Children with long-term COVID-19 symptoms may suffer from: brain fog, body aches, chronic fatigue, heart issues, dizziness, and other troubling symptoms.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C)
A rare and serious complication associated with COVID-19 to look out for is known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). Symptoms of MIS-C can include a rash, red eyes, red lips, red hands and feet, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. MIS-C can mimic Kawasaki’s Disease (KD) and typically develop about four weeks after recovery from a COVID-19 infection. Most children make a full recovery, although medications such as steroids and immune serum globulin may be needed.
Treatment of COVID-19 in Kids
Since most cases of COVID-19 in children are fairly mild, the treatment of their symptoms can usually be taken care of from the comfort of home. Treat the symptoms of a pediatric COVID-19 infection just as you would treat any other cold or flu-like illness. Give your child plenty of fluids, encourage plenty of rest, and give fever-reducing medications when needed for comfort.
Severe COVID-19 Infection in Kids
Severe infections can still occur in children, although death from COVID-19 in the youngest population is extremely rare. Children with severe COVID-19 symptoms may develop trouble breathing from viral pneumonia and require a short hospital stay or emergency room visit.
If your child is experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms such as extreme lethargy, confusion, and trouble breathing – please visit your local hospital or call 911 right away, especially if your child is considered high-risk or has a history of pneumonia and other severe infections. Watch also for signs of dehydration or excessively high fever that may require medical intervention.
Transmission of COVID-19 in Kids
Transmission among children is fairly common, due in part to their close proximity to others who may be infected at school and in other locations. Patients with mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 can still potentially spread the virus to others, so if you suspect a COVID-19 infection in your child, keep them home and in isolation from others until the recommended quarantine period has passed.
Prevention of COVID-19 in Kids
The best way to avoid COVID-19 symptoms in your children is to take steps to prevent infection in the first place. The use of masks, social distancing, hand-washing, and other smart hygiene practices can go a long way towards reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19.
You may also want to speak with your pediatrician about the possibility of your child receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Current FDA guidelines have approved vaccines for children five years and up.
If you suspect your child may have an active COVID-19 infection, or you want to discuss options for COVID-19 treatment for kids, contact us today to speak with a board-certified pediatrician.