Kids and COVID-19: Your Commonly Asked Questions Answered

Thank you to Wolfson Children's Hospital for sponsoring this post.

kids and coronavirusAs scary and stressful as the coronavirus is for all of us, worried parents can rest assured of at least one thing: Children currently do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults or the elderly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while some children and infants have certainly contracted the virus, the majority of cases have been found throughout the older population. But it’s also important to note that though coronavirus symptoms are often milder in children, almost resembling a cold — fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing — moms and dads still need to do all they can to protect their kids and consult their pediatrician should any concerns arise.

Precautions for children during the coronavirus pandemic include practicing social distancing, avoiding public playgrounds and in-person playdates, frequent handwashing, and proper household sanitation measures.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, and our knowledge about the virus continues to evolve. We spoke with Mobeen Rathore, MD, chief of pediatric infectious disease and immunology for Wolfson Children’s Hospital, to get additional answers to a few commonly asked questions regarding children and coronavirus.

What is a child-appropriate way to explain the seriousness of COVID-19 without scaring them?
Dr. Rathore: This has to be age-appropriate based on the child’s development and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Children of different ages understand things differently. Your child’s pediatrician can help guide you on the best approach to this. You can also find tips from Baptist Behavioral Health in this Juice article.

How can you tell the difference between a bad cold and coronavirus?
Dr. Rathore: It can be really difficult to tell the difference on your own, which is why you should consult your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns. He or she should be able to guide you as to when a coronavirus test should be performed. You can also call the Baptist Health Community COVID-19 Nurse Line at (904) 302-5050.

Should we avoid giving our children ibuprofen for any coronavirus-related symptoms?
Dr. Rathore: Most pediatricians recommend that parents use acetaminophen as the preferred medication to bring fever down during the coronavirus pandemic.

When it comes to those with asthma contracting the virus, is there anything specific we should watch out for?
Dr. Rathore: Children with asthma tend to do worse with any respiratory infection. One would expect a similar, or even worse, response to coronavirus. We don’t have enough information about coronavirus infection in people with asthma to say for certain, so at this point, there is nothing additional you can do aside from normal asthma management and care.

Should parents be concerned about taking their child to the emergency room for non-coronavirus symptoms?
Dr. Rathore: What special precautions need to be taken? With any scenario, you should only take your child to the ER if it is an emergency. Parents should always call their pediatrician before taking a child to the office or to the ER to determine if a visit is necessary.

Is a pregnant woman at risk for passing the virus along to her baby?
Dr. Rathore: There is no good evidence that a pregnant mother can transmit infection to her baby. We will learn more over a period of time.

Talk to a Baptist Health nurse about your child’s or your symptoms and get peace of mind now. They can help you figure out what to do next and where to go for care. This service is free, for all ages, and available 7 days a week, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Call the Baptist Health Community COVID-19 Nurse Line at (904) 302-5050.

About Wolfson Children’s Hospital

Wolfson Children’s Hospital is the only hospital just for kids in the North Florida and South Georgia region, providing care for children of all ages with congenital heart conditions, cancer, neurological disorders, orthopedic conditions, behavioral health disorders, and more.

Tina Smithers Peckham
Originally from Kansas City, Tina relocated to Jacksonville, FL with her dear husband, feisty cat and sweet-natured corgi mix in 2016. After eight years working various gigs in New York City from magazine publishing to digital marketing, Tina joined the world of freelance, writing and reporting for a variety of publications and websites including MTV News, ET Online, Glamour, Us Weekly and more. Tina has also assisted with social media, editorial and content strategy for brands and personalities such as Britney Spears, Jordin Sparks, Beauty Brands, truTV and WE tv. When she’s not plugging away on her laptop, she can be found exploring the Jacksonville beaches, reading a good book or enjoying a local coffee shop with her cherub-cheeked little boys, Archer and Austin.


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