COVID-19 and Kids: What You Need to Know

Child sick with fever

Children of all ages can contract COVID-19. Many children show no symptoms, while those who do usually have much milder symptoms than adults. Symptoms can include fever, tiredness, cough, chills, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. If your child is showing symptoms, call your doctor. He or she will decide if your child needs a test for COVID-19 or if your child should be seen in a clinic.

Kids with certain underlying health conditions may be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. These conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Conditions that affect the immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Sickle cell disease

Some kids can develop severe complications, although this is rare. One serious complication is called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). The condition can affect many different parts of the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, eyes and gastrointestinal organs, causing them to become inflamed. MIS-C can be life-threatening, but most kids who receive treatment will recover. Symptoms of MIS-C include:

  • A fever that doesn’t go away
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Pain and/or swelling in the neck
  • Rash
  • Red, cracked lips
  • Stomach pain
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

If your child shows any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away, or visit the emergency room if symptoms become severe.

Vaccines Are Now Available for Children 5 and Older

In late October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. EUA for the vaccine had previously been granted for kids ages 12 to 15, and everyone ages 16 and older was eligible for the vaccine at its initial release.

The Pfizer vaccine, the only COVID-19 vaccine currently approved for those younger than 18, is administered in two doses that are given 21 days apart. Everyone ages 12 and older receives a 30 microgram dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but children 5 to 11  are given a smaller, 10 microgram dose. Vaccines for kids—and adults—are available at some pharmacies, physicians’ offices and vaccination clinics.

How Can I Protect My Child?

There are things you can do to keep your child safe if he or she is not old enough to be vaccinated:

  • If your child is age 2 or older, he or she should wear a face mask over the nose and mouth when in indoor public places or in crowds.
  • Avoid big crowds and places that are not well ventilated.
  • Practice social distancing when around people who don’t live with you.
  • Teach your child to wash his or her hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Do you need to see a healthcare provider but don’t want to wait for an appointment? Visit River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department, conveniently located at the hospital’s main entrance.




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