Answers to parents’ questions about COVID-19

Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

This blog was originally posted in 2020. Some information may be out of date. For the latest updates on vaccines, testing, screening, visitor policy and post-COVID support, visit EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

As we deal with the many unknowns of this pandemic, concerns about their children are weighing on every parent’s mind.

Here is some information parents should know.

Are children at higher risk of contracting the virus?

Children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults.

Also, previously healthy children who contract COVID-19 appear to get a milder version of the disease than older adults and those with underlying health problems.

Babies younger than 1 and children with certain underlying medical conditions may be more likely to have serious illness from COVID-19. Parents of children with severe asthma, a congenital heart problem or other underlying medical condition should take extra precautions.

Some children have developed a rare but serious disease called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) that is linked to COVID-19.

What symptoms should I look for in my child?

According to the CDC, most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or they may have no symptoms at all. 

Symptoms may include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, cough and runny nose, and/or vomiting and diarrhea. If your child has any concerning symptoms, his/her doctor can help you determine if testing is warranted.

Use our coronavirus Symptom Checker.

When should I be concerned?

It is rare for children to get so sick that they need to go to the hospital due to COVID-19. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms or if you think your child has been exposed to COVID-19, contact your child’s primary care doctor first.

Take your child to the emergency room right away or call 911 if you notice any of the following:

  • Has trouble breathing/gasping
  • Is unable to breath when laying down
  • Has pain or pressure in chest
  • Is unable to wake up/arouse
  • Is unable to keep down any liquids
  • Has bluish lips or face

If my child has to go to the hospital, what can I expect?

There are fewer hospitalizations in children with COVID-19 than in adults. But sometimes a child’s doctor will recommend that they go to the hospital.

To protect patients and the community, Edward-Elmhurst Health has updated our visitor policy. All visitors are screened before entering our sites.

Our pediatric patient population may have two parents as visitors. If your child is COVID-19-positive or suspected of having COVID-19, parents will be isolated in their child’s room and unable to leave the room until discharge or cleared by Infection Control.

If a parent has a fever at the screening process or is COVID-19-positive, he/she would need to designate the other parent or a pediatric caregiver who is 18 years or older (with the parent available by phone) to stay with their child in the hospital.

How can I protect my child from getting the virus?

The following are some infection protection measures parents can use to help keep children safe:

  • Wash hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (for older children), especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. Teach good handwashing habits.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a bent elbow or tissue and throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your face as much as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect hard surface toys and high-touch surfaces in the household daily, such as tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes and handles.
  • Launder washable toys using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • Isolate any sick family members in a single room in the house and avoid close contact with them.
  • Don’t share personal items, such as utensils, glasses, dishes, toothpaste, etc.
  • Practice social distancing. To help children maintain social connections, arrange phone calls or video chats with their friends.
  • The CDC recommends children 2 years and older wear a cloth face mask covering their nose and mouth when out in public. Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies or children younger than 2 because of the danger of suffocation.
  • Make sure you have enough refills of medication that your child needs, as well as over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen. If you have a baby at home, get a few weeks’ worth of infant formula/baby food, diapers and wipes.
  • The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. Schedule your child's COVID-19 vaccine now.

Make sure to protect your child’s emotional health, too. Monitor your child’s intake of media about COVID-19, as it can trigger anxiety. Talk with your older children about what they are hearing on the news and correct any misinformation. Watch for signs of stress in your child, including excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating, trouble sleeping, and difficulty with attention and concentration.

Should I still take my child to their well-visit with the pediatrician?

Yes. Call your child's primary care doctor and ask about your child's next well visit. If your child is due for immunizations, you should not delay the appointment unless directed by your child’s physician. Experts highly recommend that children get the required immunizations to protect them from other serious illnesses, including the COVID-19 vaccine.

Edward-Elmhurst Health has COVID-19 vaccine appointments available to ages 5 and older, including booster doses for ages 12 and older. Schedule your COVID-19 vaccine now.

Read the CDC’s FAQs about children and COVID-19.

Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a mobile app, MyEEHealthTM, which helps you keep track of your health from the comfort of anywhere. With new virtual options, you can connect with select healthcare providers online — keeping you safe and at home. Learn more.

Get the latest information on what Edward-Elmhurst Health is doing about coronavirus.

Get more information about coronavirus from Healthy Driven Chicago.

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.

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