Though vaccine distribution has begun for certain high-risk groups across our state, the threat of COVID-19 remains real. Because infants and children aren’t yet approved to receive a vaccine, it’s important to be vigilant to keep them safe in the meantime. They should continue to follow all recommended health protocols and guidelines, such as wearing masks and socially distancing as well as practicing excellent hygiene, which includes frequent hand washing.
COVID-19 in babies and children may not be as common as it is in adults, but it is a risk and they are still capable of spreading the virus. In this post, we’ll explore the odds of contraction, symptoms and where to get help if your family is exposed or infected with the virus.
What are the odds of infants and children getting COVID-19?
Thankfully, the statistics show that proportionally children are getting the disease less often than adults. In the U.S., only 12% of all COVID-19 cases are babies or children. However, it should be noted that additional factors like obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart conditions and other ailments can increase a child’s risk of getting the virus. Reports also show that more Hispanic and Black infants and children have contracted COVID-19 and have higher rates of hospitalization.
Symptoms of COVID-19 in Infants and Children
Detecting COVID-19 in babies and children can be challenging because, like adults, their symptoms can mimic signs of other common ailments. Furthermore, many will only experience a few symptoms simultaneously. The symptoms to watch for include:
- Runny nose
- Fever and Chills
- Stomach Ache
- Loss of Appetite
- Sore Throat
- Difficulty Breathing
- Muscle Aches
- Loss of Smell and/or Taste
Of course, a percentage of kids with COVID-19 remain asymptomatic for the duration of their illness, though they’re contagious and still able to spread the virus. If your family has been exposed to COVID-19, it’s best to get everyone tested to minimize further spread.
Is the vaccine for children?
At the present time, only minors 16 and older are approved to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Clinical trials for children 12 and older are currently being conducted and soon, studies for younger age groups will commence. Watch the Washington State Department of Health website for updates on availability for children’s vaccines, and when available get the remainder of the family vaccinated to reduce risk of spreading.
If Your Infant or Child Has COVID-19: Next Steps
If your infant or child has tested positive and is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, it’s best to conduct a Telehealth appointment with a doctor. Through Telehealth appointments, doctors can see the child via video to help determine whether or not they need to come to a medical facility for additional care or be admitted to a hospital.
If their symptoms are mild, the doctor will most likely advise you to treat them at home, isolated from non-infected family members, to prevent further spread of the virus. It will be important to keep them hydrated, make them comfortable and possibly administer child dosages of over-the-counter medications to keep their symptoms from worsening.
If your infant or child has difficulty breathing, is sleepy and confused, has chest pain or severe abdominal pain, you should take them to the ER. If they are turning blue, have fainted, or can’t walk or talk because they’re too out of breath, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Consult With a Medical Professional
If your child is experiencing symptoms you fear may be COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus, or if you’d simply like to speak to a doctor regarding COVID-19 in children, schedule a Telehealth appointment with Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice team. For more general inquiries, complete this contact form.