According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 9% of all COVID-19 cases have been reported in children. Although most cases have been asymptomatic or mild, there have been severe cases requiring hospitalization. Parents and teachers are diligently taking preventive measures that have successfully kept the number of cases low. New Beginnings Pediatrics share some answers to questions you might have about the current pandemic and young people.
1. What Are the Symptoms Of COVID-19 In Children And Teens?
It is important to remember that this virus’s symptoms are similar to common childhood illnesses, such as the common cold, allergies, flu, and strep throat. Although there are instances where there has been no fever or cough, these are the two most common symptoms. Young people may have any combination of the following symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny Nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Muscle ache
- Behavioral changes (moody, anxious, etc.)
These symptoms are especially significant if a young person has other health issues such as respiratory disease, circulatory disease, diabetes, or obesity.
2. What Should I Do If My Child Has Symptoms Of COVID-19?
The most important thing you can do for your child or teenager during this pandemic is to monitor them for COVID-19 symptoms every day. You should also be very aware of who your child comes into close contact with, in case they were around someone who becomes sick with COVID-19.
If your child develops symptoms you should:
- Keep them home
- Call their pediatrician
- Protect yourself while caring for your child or teenager
- Notify their school
It is possible that your child could experience a COVID-19-related medical emergency. You should call 911 or take them to an emergency room. Emergency warning signs include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or pressure
- Difficulty waking up and staying awake
- Blue lips or face
3. How Is COVID-19 Affecting Children Physically?
This virus has unique physical implications for children. Although the symptoms seem to be milder in children, there is mounting evidence of short-term and long-term effects on children’s physical health.
One of the most significant possible effects is multisystem inflammatory syndrome. The CDC reports that this deadly condition is seen more among children either diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19.
Another consequence of the pandemic is that children are less physically active. A recent study found this to be a particular problem among tweens.
4. How Is COVID-19 Affecting Children Mentally?
While the virus has spared most young people’s bodies from its severest symptoms, it is leaving its mark on their minds. There is now widespread concern about these deepening effects on the mental health of children. The psychological effects of COVID-19 on children include:
- Behavioral problems
- Increased risk for acquiring ADHD
- Difficulty concentrating
Parents must be monitoring their children, tweens, and teens for these and other signs of mental health changes. These must be addressed just as diligently as fever, cough, etc.
5. How Can Your Pediatrician Help?
This pandemic is creating many issues for families. Each age group has its own particular set of challenges. If you have a young child, tween, and/or teenager in your household, your pediatrician can be a great resource and help during this crisis.
Young children, especially newborns and infants, can become critically ill from the coronavirus. Your pediatrician should be consulted immediately if you notice the development of any signs or symptoms.
Childhood immunizations can not be put off during this pandemic. Your pediatrician is taking extreme measures to ensure your child’s safety for well visits and immunizations.
Your pediatrician will be able to advise you on how to protect your child should someone else in the household or school become ill with COVID-19.
Communication becomes very important during the tween years. Your pediatrician can help you communicate the importance of taking the necessary preventive steps such as adequate hand washing, proper diet, and exercise.
Teenagers present their own special challenges during the pandemic. The importance of staying healthy by getting adequate sleep, avoiding junk food, and exercising needs to be constantly reinforced.
All age groups need resilience, healthy habits, positive attitudes, and calmness to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic successfully. A great resource to accomplish this with your young children, tweens, and teens is your pediatrician.
New Beginnings Pediatrics is here for you and your child for all aspects of their care. If you have questions or concerns about your child and how to help them through Covid-19, please contact us. Our team is happy to help!