COVID-19 and Kids

People of all ages can develop COVID-19; however, risk increases with age and children over the age of 1 tend to become less sick and are less likely to show symptoms (be asymptomatic) compared to adults.  They are also less likely to have serious illness, demonstrate similar lung lesions as adults or be hospitalized. Approximately 2% of COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC by the end of May were children under age 18 years but they make up 24% of the population. Results from a Swedish study indicate tweens and teens seem more at risk of infection than younger children. They also appear to be less likely to spread the disease. Studies that have traced contacts of children infected with SARS-CoV-2 demonstrate that few contacts became infected. The reason for this is not fully understood by scientists, but it may be that children’s immune systems react differently to the virus. Despite these findings, pediatric COVID-19 cases appear to be at very low but increased risk of developing multisystem inflammatory syndrome as compared to those that are uninfected, which can have serious health complications. Pediatric deaths due to COVID-19 are rare, but do still occur.

Although children overall are less likely to develop severe cases of COVID-19, certain groups of children are still at a heightened risk, including:

  • Children that have underlying health conditions such as genetic, nervous system, or metabolic conditions, congenital heart disease, or if a child is immunocompromised. 
  • Children under the age of 1 (because of their immature immune system and respiratory airways).

Symptoms in children tend to be more mild, or not be present at all. The most common symptoms for children include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you believe that your child is experiencing symptoms, contact your pediatrician or health care provider. 

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in Children (MIS-C): MIS-C is rare but has been associated with COVID-19 disease in children. Scientists do not yet know the cause of this syndrome, other than it has been associated with children who have tested positive or who have had contact with positive COVID-19 cases. MIS-C causes inflammation of organs and various parts of the body, such as the heart, eyes, brain, blood vessels, skin, etc. Some studies have found that this syndrome occurs 1-2 weeks after COVID-19 infection.

Symptoms of MIS-C may include:Seek emergency medical care if your child is experiencing the following symptoms:

Fever that lasts 24 hours or longer

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Pain in the stomach / Abdominal pain

Skin rash

Red / bloodshot eyes

Redness or swelling of the lips and tongue

Feeling extremely tired

Redness or swelling of the hands or feet

Neck pain
Inability to wake up or stay awake

Difficulty, or trouble breathing

Constant chest pain or pressure

New confusion

Bluish lips or face

Severe stomach / abdominal  pain

For more information on MIS-C, visit this link

Information from this article was gathered from this source.

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