What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Coronavirus In Children?

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The coronavirus pandemic is changing fast, showing us the effect of the COVID-19 virus on kids. Between 2020 and 2023, about 18% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were children. Although children can catch the virus as easily as adults, they are less likely to get very sick. Until March 2024, kids under 17 made up about 1.5% of those who needed hospital care for COVID-19.

Yet, some kids face a higher risk from COVID-19. This includes those with more than one chronic disease, without COVID-19 vaccination, with a weak immune system, premature birth, obesity, or diabetes. Here’s the good news: COVID-19 vaccines can lower their chances of getting severely ill or needing hospital care for COVID-19.

Key Takeaways

  • Children make up about 18% of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S., but are less likely to become seriously ill compared to adults.
  • Certain health conditions, such as chronic diseases, may increase a child’s risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
  • COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent children from getting the virus and becoming seriously ill.
  • It’s important to monitor children for COVID-19 symptoms and seek medical attention if they experience emergency warning signs.
  • Practicing good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, and staying up to date on vaccinations can help protect children from respiratory illnesses.

COVID-19 in Babies and Children

It’s crucial to look at how COVID-19 affects kids as the pandemic changes. Data shows about 18% of the U.S. COVID-19 cases were in children between 2020 and 2023.

How Likely Is It for a Child to Become Sick with Coronavirus?

Children and adults catch the virus at the same rate, but kids get less sick. Up to March 2024, only 1.5% of kids needed hospital help for COVID-19.

Factors That Raise a Child’s Risk of Serious Illness with COVID-19

Some health issues can make kids more at risk from COVID-19. This includes those with many health problems, not fully vaccinated, or with a weak immune system. Premature birth, obesity, and diabetes also play a role.

Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccination for Children

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine helps children stay safe. It lessens their chance of getting very ill, needing hospital care, or dying from the virus.

Symptoms of COVID-19 in Children

COVID-19 symptoms in kids are sometimes like those of a cold. Kids might have a sore throat or a runny nose. They also might feel tired, get sick to their stomach, or have diarrhea or chills. Muscle aches and pains are possible too.

Most Common Symptoms in Children

Testing is key to knowing if a child has COVID-19. In addition to regular symptoms, COVID-19 can cause breathing problems or a loss of smell or taste.

Breathing Trouble as an Emergency Warning Sign

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath is very serious. It’s a sign of an emergency. If a child has trouble breathing, they need medical help right away.

Other Emergency Symptoms Requiring Immediate Medical Attention

Other serious signs in children include:

  • Persistent chest pain
  • New confusion
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Finding and treating severe COVID-19 symptoms early matters a lot. It helps keep kids safe and well.

Testing for COVID-19 in Children

Figuring out if a child’s sickness is from COVID-19 is vital. Testing quickly pinpoints the cause of symptoms. It also helps take steps to stop the virus from spreading. This is especially important for kids at high risk of severe illness.

Importance of Testing for COVID-19

Testing helps to quickly see if COVID-19 is the reason for your child’s sickness. It also aides in preventing severe illness, especially for at-risk kids. Doing tests when many have COVID-19 in your area is also key to stopping its spread.

Types of COVID-19 Tests for Children

For kids, there are different COVID-19 tests. There are tests that check the virus’s genetic material, like PCR tests. And there are also antigen tests, which look for certain proteins. The best test for your child depends on their symptoms and what they’ve been exposed to.

When to Use At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Using at-home tests is good if your child might have been near someone with COVID-19. They also work well if your child shows symptoms. These tests give results quickly, but always be sure to follow the test’s instructions. If it shows a positive result, let your child’s doctor know.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, is a severe issue. It appears after getting the virus that causes COVID-19. Kids with MIS-C run high fevers and show bodily signs of inflammation. This leads to multiple organ issues.

Symptoms of MIS-C

MIS-C symptoms often start with a persistent fever. Besides this, kids may have vomiting, diarrhea, and belly pain. They might also develop a skin rash, red eyes, and feel dizzy or lightheaded.

Emergency Warning Signs of MIS-C

Parents must be aware of critical signs that require immediate action:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 in Children

long-term effects of COVID-19 in children

COVID-19 symptoms in children might start mild. But some kids can face long-term problems or post-COVID-19 syndrome. This syndrome brings new or lingering symptoms, even after a mild initial illness.

Post-COVID-19 syndrome isn’t just for those who get very sick. Even children with mild cases might face it. They could have tiredness, can’t focus, headaches, and joint pains. They might also find sleep hard or have long-term issues with their heart and lungs.

Parents should watch their kids for any lasting symptoms. Even after COVID-19 seems gone, these signs might appear. Medical help should be sought quickly to deal with the post-COVID-19 syndrome. This can help avoid long-term health and development problems.

Preventing Respiratory Viruses in Children

Keeping good health habits helps kids stay safe from respiratory illnesses. These include COVID-19, the flu, and RSV.

Healthy Habits to Stop the Spread of Germs

To avoid getting sick, it’s key to stay home if you feel unwell. Make sure to wash your hands often, cover your mouth when you cough, and keep your vaccines updated. A mask adds extra protection in places where viruses are common.

Importance of COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines

Getting the COVID-19 and flu shots is very important for your child’s health. These vaccines prevent serious illness and stop the spread of the virus. Talk to your child’s doctor about which vaccines and boosters they need.

Comparing Symptoms of COVID-19, Flu, and Other Respiratory Illnesses

Navigating the many illnesses that impact kids can be tough. This is because they often have similar symptoms. The chart below helps by comparing the signs of COVID-19, flu, RSV, colds, and allergies in children.

SymptomCOVID-19FluRSVCommon ColdSeasonal Allergies
Shortness of BreathSometimesSometimesOftenRareRare
Sore ThroatOftenSometimesOftenOftenSometimes
Runny or Stuffy NoseSometimesSometimesOftenOftenOften
Body AchesOftenOftenSometimesRareSometimes
Loss of Taste or SmellOftenRareRareRareRare

It’s key to remember symptoms can differ in each child. If any symptoms worry you, seeing a doctor is best. Quick diagnosis and the right care are crucial to fight the illness and avoid serious problems.

Coronavirus in Kids: COVID-19 vs. the Flu

The number of COVID-19 cases is lower than before, but the virus still spreads. Thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, people do better if they get sick.

Severity of COVID-19 vs. Flu in Children

Data shows the vaccine keeps kids from getting very sick with COVID-19. It also lowers the chances of spreading the virus to high-risk kids or grandparents.

Importance of COVID-19 Testing

Testing is key to tell if a child has COVID-19 or the flu. It’s crucial for the right treatment and steps to keep others safe. Quick and accurate tests protect the health of children and those around them.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Risk Factors in Newborns and Babies

newborns and babies

Can Newborns and Babies Get COVID-19?

Babies under 1 year have a higher risk of getting really sick from COVID-19. This is especially true for babies born too early. They often catch the virus from a caregiver after they’re born. There’s no proof the virus can spread through breast milk.

COVID-19 Transmission During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

No evidence shows COVID-19 can pass from a mom to her baby during pregnancy or birth. Also, the virus has not been found in breast milk. So, it’s unlikely babies can get it through breastfeeding. Still, pregnant women and new moms should be careful to guard against the virus.

Also read: Top 10 Orthopedic Hospitals For Bone Care

Protecting Children with Medical Conditions from COVID-19

Kids with certain medical issues need more careful protection from COVID-19. They are more likely to get very sick if they catch the virus. It’s important to keep them safe.

Care for Immunocompromised Children

Children whose immune systems are weakened face a bigger risk with COVID-19. They should follow strict health rules like getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and staying apart from others. Working with doctors, parents can make a plan to keep these kids safe.

Managing Asthma and Diabetes During the Pandemic

Having asthma can make COVID-19 and other breathing viruses worse. But most kids with asthma won’t get very sick from COVID-19. Still, parents need to watch their child’s health and talk to a doctor as soon as any symptoms show up.

Good blood sugar control is key for kids with diabetes. If their diabetes is well managed, it usually won’t make COVID-19 worse. But poorly controlled diabetes can harm the immune system. So, parents and doctors should team up to make sure these kids keep their diabetes in check.


Q: What are the most common symptoms of coronavirus in children?

A: The most common symptoms of coronavirus in children include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea. It’s important to note that children may experience different symptoms compared to adults.

Q: How can I differentiate between coronavirus symptoms in children and regular cold or flu symptoms?

A: While some symptoms of coronavirus in children may overlap with those of a common cold or flu, unique symptoms like loss of taste or smell are more closely associated with COVID-19. If you suspect your child has been exposed to the virus or is showing symptoms, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.

Q: When should I seek medical attention for my child’s coronavirus symptoms?

A: If your child is experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, or bluish lips or face, seek emergency medical care immediately. It’s also advisable to consult a healthcare provider if you’re concerned about your child’s symptoms or overall health.

Q: What preventive measures can I take to protect my child from contracting coronavirus?

A: To safeguard your child from coronavirus, encourage frequent handwashing, use of face masks in public settings, practicing physical distancing, and avoiding large gatherings. Additionally, it’s essential to stay updated on the latest guidelines provided by health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Q: Are children at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus compared to adults?

A: Generally, children are less likely to experience severe illness from coronavirus compared to adults. However, certain underlying health conditions or other risk factors may increase the likelihood of severe symptoms in children. It’s crucial to monitor your child’s health closely and seek medical advice if needed.

Q: How can I support my child’s mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Maintain open communication with your child about the situation, address their concerns, establish routines, engage in activities together, and encourage them to stay connected with friends and family through virtual means. Seeking professional support if needed is also important for their mental health.

Q: What are the long-term effects of coronavirus on children?

A: While most children recover from coronavirus without long-term consequences, some may experience lingering symptoms or complications affecting various organs. It’s essential to follow up with healthcare providers for proper monitoring and management of any lingering issues in children who have had COVID-19.

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