Facts and information about the coronavirus pandemic are constantly changing. Visit the CDC site for the most up-to-date information during the COVID-19 outbreak.
COVID-19 is a new disease, so we’re learning new things about it every day. One of the areas of uncertainty has to do with children and the coronavirus. Are the symptoms different? How can we best protect our kids?
Symptoms of coronavirus in children
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar for kids and adults. The CDC says that children may have mild symptoms similar to a cold or flu, and they may also have diarrhea or vomiting. Fewer children have had the disease than adults, so, as the CDC puts it, “There is more to learn about how the disease impacts children.”
If you are worried that your child might have COVID-19, do not take them to a clinic or doctor’s office without calling first. In Northwest Arkansas, you should call Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics: (479) 442-7322 if your child has a cough AND a fever of 100 degrees or more.
Statistics for COVID-19 and kids
While statistics are being updated frequently, different states are reporting in different ways and different numbers of people are being tested in different places. That means that the most certain numbers come from older data collected in China. There, 1.2% of COVID-19 patients were teens, and only 0.9% were 9 or younger. The fatality rate in children was just 0.2%.
A new study from the journal Pediatrics and a commentary from the American Academy of Pediatrics show that COVID-19 is less common among children, but make the point that kids can catch the coronavirus. While 13% of kids with confirmed cases had no symptoms, some children have been seriously ill and a few have died. It seems likely that these children had conditions before they caught the coronavirus that made them more vulnerable.
Protecting our children
UNICEF, the CDC, and MANA doctors agree: keep your children at home. UNICEF reminds us that the coronavirus can live on playground equipment and other hard surfaces. Don’t take kids on playdates or to crowded areas. In Northwest Arkansas, many parks and walking trails are crowded right now. Even though they are outdoors, they are not good places to take your kids during the pandemic.
Wash hands often. This is a perfect time to teach children to wash their hands thoroughly. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song to be sure they’re washing long enough and make sure they wash the backs of their hands and in between their fingers as well.
Clean surfaces that you touch often. Counters, light switches, toys, tables, and similar surfaces in your home should be disinfected. Stuffed animals should be laundered if possible.
Try to maintain a normal routine for your kids even though their school or preschool may be closed. Good sleep habits, healthy eating, and physical activity are all still important for their health — and yours. These habits can also reduce anxiety.