At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, we are committed to the health and safety of our patients, their families and our staff. We know that you have many questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and when they will be available to children, and our infectious disease experts are her to help answer your questions.
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that first began affecting people in 2019 and has quickly spread worldwide.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that commonly infect animals but can infect humans too. They usually attack the upper respiratory tract—nose, sinuses and throat. The coronaviruses get their name from the crown-like spikes on their surface, visible under a microscope (“corona” means crown in Latin). Some types of coronaviruses cause mild cold-like symptoms, while infections from coronaviruses like SARS or MERS can be more severe.
Scientists are still learning more information about this novel virus called SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that causes a disease known as COVID-19. Called “novel” because it’s never been seen before, it is thought to have been introduced from interaction with animals in a market in China in 2019.
What does COVID-19 mean for kids and teens?
Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all.
However, some children can get severely ill from COVID-19, especially babies under 1 year old and children with underlying conditions.
What Parents Should Know About COVID-19
COVID-19 is a new illness, and we’re already developing better strategies and guidance for avoiding infection. Here’s what to know.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Reported symptoms of COVID-19 have ranged from very mild to severe and even fatal. COVID-19 in most healthy children is mild and does not require hospital care.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Fever that is not responsive to fever-reducing medications
- Shortness of breath from continued coughing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Refusing liquids with decreased urine frequency
- Crying without the ability to be consoled
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle or body aches
- Behavior that is not normal for your child
Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19. In children, the most common symptoms are fever and cough.
My child has respiratory symptoms but does not seem to require medical care. What should I do?
The majority of people infected with COVID-19, including children, can safely recover with supportive care at home, which may include keeping your child hydrated, using fever-reducing medication (as recommended by your pediatrician) and encouraging bed rest. If your child has respiratory symptoms but is otherwise well, consider managing your child’s symptoms at home and contacting your doctor immediately if your child worsens. This way, you can keep from spreading the illness to others.
Note: If your child has a fever or cough, we highly recommend that your child stay home until the fever and other symptoms are gone for 24 hours. Staying home while sick protects your friends, loved ones and members of your community, some of whom may be at higher risk for illness.
When should my child see a doctor for COVID-19 symptoms?
Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and do not require medical care. If your child has concerning symptoms, call your doctor or pediatrician to discuss next steps before going to a hospital, emergency department or urgent care.
If your child is having difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
What do I do if my child is exposed to COVID-19?
If your child is exposed to someone who has COVID-19, he should avoid others for 14 days or until he is cleared by his pediatrician. This means your child should stay at home unless he needs medical care. He may walk with you in secluded areas away from people or play in the backyard; however, your child should always avoid being around others who do not live in your home.
In addition, monitor your child closely for symptoms of COVID-19. If any develop, use our COVID-19 Pediatric Assessment Tool for next steps.
COVID-19 Pediatric Assessment Tool
This COVID-19 tool is meant to help parents answer two questions:
- What should I do if my child has a fever and/or a cough?
- What should I do if my child has been around someone with COVID-19, but my child has no symptoms?
When should my child get tested for COVID-19?
The following should be considered before taking your child to get tested for COVID-19:
- Does your child have symptoms of COVID-19?
- Has your child had close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with someone who has confirmed COVID-19?
- Has your child’s pediatrician referred your child to get tested?
Drive-thru testing for teens and kids—by appointment only
Our drive-thru COVID-19 testing site, located at Children’s at Satellite Boulevard, is one of the only testing sites in Georgia facilitated by pediatric nurses and using kid-friendly supplies. Your child must have a physician referral to schedule an appointment.GET THE DETAILS
Because COVID-19 is a new disease, we are still learning about it, and some medical recommendations have changed since January 2020. But the basics remain: As we wait for vaccinations to roll out across the country, it is extremely important to wear a mask, to wash your hands and to maintain a safe distance from people who aren’t in your household.
Most children’s cases of COVID-19 will be mild, and they will recover safely at home without needing any medical care from a healthcare professional. But the disease can still be dangerous, especially among older people, so it’s important that we all work to contain its spread.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and its academic partners have been selected to help fast-track COVID-19 diagnostic testing, as well as to participate in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine.
As one of the nation’s leading pediatric research institutions, Children’s is well positioned to lead the way in this vitally important research. Every day, many of our clinicians and researchers are pushing forward with research that will lead to better understanding of and new treatments for this illness.
NIH Awards $18.2 Million to Continue Verification
A total of $54 million has been awarded to Children’s, Emory University and Georgia Tech for RADx projects to continue verification for COVID-19 diagnostic tests.