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Coronavirus and Kids - What to Watch For

Coronavirus and Kids - What to Watch For

You’ve been hearing that kids aren’t as susceptible to COVID-19 as adults but seeing reports on the news about severe pediatric cases can make you uneasy as a parent. Instead of just worrying, let’s look at some facts.

Children of all ages can get COVID-19, but most kids who get it typically don't become as sick as adults and some might not show any symptoms at all. Some physician offices are testing children if they meet the criteria to be tested or if their physician is concerned about potential complications from it due to underlying conditions like asthma. While children may experience some of the same symptoms as adults, theirs tend to be mild and cold-like, and most recover within one to two weeks. These symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In recent weeks, doctors are also seeing children present with a set of symptoms related to COVID-19 that they are calling pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Although rare, symptoms can include:

  • Fever for more than three days
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms are mirroring more commonly known inflammatory illnesses like Kawasaki Disease and toxic shock syndrome and have been reported in many different states. This sends the body into shock or causes extreme inflammation. Shock is when the body’s organs don’t get enough blood supply, which can cause poor heart function.

Luckily though, treatment for this COVID-related syndrome seems to be working, with hospital stays lasting two to four days. If fever persists for more than two or three days, call your child’s physician. If other symptoms appear too, like a rapid heartbeat, you should consider taking your child to the emergency room.

The best thing you can do to protect your children during this time is to minimize unnecessary outings, practice social distancing when you do go out, and be sure they’re washing their hands. If your child is over 2 years old and doesn’t have any breathing issues, they can also wear a mask while in public.

Rachael KermisRachael Kermis, MD
Baton Rouge Family Medical Center

(225) 763-4900

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