Caring for kids with Covid

COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory virus caused by a type of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

While children with certain risk factors such as immunosuppression, chronic disease, or obesity can become sicker with Covid, most of the time Covid symptoms are pretty mild in kids.

In fact a lot of children are completely asymptomatic with Covid (and continue on with their normal antics while the rest of the household feel like death warmed up, yayyyy).

Why don’t kids usually get as sick as adults when they have Covid?

According to current research the most likely hypothesis is that adults become sicker than children when they have Covid because of a difference in their immune systems

It is thought that children have a stronger immune response in their airways in comparison to adults.

This means when kids get sick with Covid their immune system shuts down the virus quick smart. Whereas with adults, the virus is better able to invade other parts of the body where the infection is harder to control.

How do people actually catch Covid?

Unfortunately old mate Covid is pretty contagious.

It spreads from one person to the next when someone with the virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes out small particles or droplets into the environment. 

It then infects someone else by entering their body via the eyes, nose or mouth (hence the reason we all wear masks when Covid is lurking around).

What’s the deal with Covid infectious periods these days?

While infectious periods vary from person to person, people are usually infectious for 48 hours before symptoms appear and for a minimum of 5 days (however you can be infectious for up to 10 days). 

While all restrictions have now been lifted in Aus, if your little one has Covid, the recommendations are to stay at home for at least 5 days or until they no longer have symptoms. 

Remind me, how soon can my child be reinfected with Covid?

While there is a small chance of being reinfected beforehand, there is usually a grace period of 35 days before contracting Covid again. 

This means your child can enjoy 35 days of putting every toy at daycare into their mouth stress free, woooo!

What type of symptoms are commonly seen in kids with Covid?

Fingers crossed your child will be asymptomatic, however it’s not unusual for them to have generic viral / flu-like symptoms such as…

GI symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or stomach pain.

Respiratory symptoms like a cough, sore throat, stuffy nose or sneezing 

General symptoms such as a fever, lethargy or headache.

What should I do if my child has Covid?

While there is no specific medication to treat Covid in kids there are still heaps of things you can do to help them feel better. Take a deep breath, pour yourself a double whiskey or a strong coffee or better yet a strong coffee with whiskey and follow these steps!

1). Comfort care

First things first you want to make your child comfortable. Consider pain relief such as paracetamol / ibuprofen, clear a stuffy nose with a nasal aspirator and saline spray, warm baths for relaxation, cuddles, rest and reassurance.

2). Hydration

Focus on hydration and monitor for dehydration, you can read all about dehydration here.

Remember, like adults, it’s normal for kids to be off their food when they are sick, try not to worry too much and instead focus on fluid intake.

3). Monitor

Keep an eye out for red flag symptoms of a critically unwell child (we teach you about red flag symptom recognition in all of our courses) check them out here.

4). Contact all of the people your child had contact with 48 hours before their symptoms began and warn them they have been a ‘close contact’.

5). Stay home for at least 5 days or until symptoms are completely resolved.

6). To reduce spreading Covid to other family members you can open doors and windows to ventilate rooms, spend time outside in the garden, practise good hand hygiene and adults and kids over 6 could consider wearing a mask. 

Remember masks are considered a choking hazard for kids under 2.

Does my child need to see a GP if they have covid?

We would recommend hitting up your GP for a tele-health appointment if you notice:

  • Signs of mild dehydration, you can read for about dehydration here 
  • Your child has had a fever for more than 48 hours
  • Or you are concerned for any reason

Call 000 for an ambulance or take your child to ED urgently if:

  • You notice any red flag symptoms 
  • Your child is having difficulty breathing 
  • Your child is under 3 months of age with a fever
  • Fever lasts for more than 5 days 
  • Signs of severe dehydration
  • Severe chest or stomach pain that doesn’t go away with pain relief
  • Floppy or unresponsive 
  • Pain or swelling in the legs 

Well that wraps out our blog post on caring for kids with Covid. While it is your job as a caregiver to turn covid quarantine into a fun filled adventure, its our job to help you feel confident managing common childhood illness. If you want to feel confident in caring, book a course with us today.

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