When Kids Get COVID: Symptoms, Care and Isolation

Here's a guide from the Department of Health.
Photo/s: Lisa Marie David, Reuters

The Philippines is on the throes of a fresh COVID-19 surge that is believed to be caused by the Omicron variant, with daily cases approaching record highs that were set during the Delta outbreak of the previous year.

Children have not been spared from the disease and as infections spread at an unprecedented rate, those with no symptoms or mild symptoms are advised to isolate at home.

Here's your guide on caring for children with COVID-19, from the Department of Health:

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 in children?

Mild COVID (one or two of the following)

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Colds/Runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pains
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste
  • Headache
  • Rashes

Moderate COVID

  • Difficulty breathing

Severe COVID

  • Convulsions

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Got COVID Symptoms Like Itchy Throat? Here's What You Should Do

When should they see the doctor?

Moderate COVID in kids

  • When there are signs of pneumonia such as difficulty in breathing. 
  • When the number of breaths per minute exceed 60 for infants less than two months, 50 per minute for two to 11 months, and 25 for one to five years old.
Continue reading below ↓

Moderate COVID in teens and adolescents

  • Signs of penumonia such as colds, cough, heavy breathing

Severe COVID in kids

  • Lips, nails or skin turn black or blue
  • Noisy or heavy breathing; excessive movements in the tummy (pag-alon ng tiyan)
  • Can't be breastfeed, gets weak or loses consciousness

Severe COVID in teens and adolescents

  • More than 20 breaths per minute
  • Noisy or heavy breathing; excessive movements in the tummy (pag-alon ng tiyan)
  • Oxygen level below 94% without help from an oxygen tank

Who should get tested?

  • Kids with symptoms, even if vaccinated or recovered previously from COVID
  • Close contacts of suspected or COVID positive patients
  • Infants whose mothers are suspected to have COVID

When should they get tested?

  • When they exhibit one symptom of COVID
  • If the kid is a close contact of a COVID patient, testing should be done 5 to 7 days after contact.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Where to Get Free, Affordable RT-PCR Test in Metro Manila 

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How to care for a kid with COVID at home?

  • Have a pulse oxymeter (oxygen) and thermometer (temperature) ready to check vitals.
  • Check temperature every four hours
  • Check oxygen every six hours
  • If a pulse oxymeter is unavailable, check if breathing is slowing
  • Monitor the color of urine and feces
  • Give healthy food, water and allow enough rest
  • Give an antipyretic like paracetamol if the patient has fever
  • Continue breastfeeding

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Hospitals Offering COVID Home Care Programs

When should a kid with COVID be brought top the emergency room?

  • If the kid appears dehydrated, gets dizzy, has dry mouth and throat, cries with few tears, seldom urinates, can't drink or speak properly
  • Breathing is difficult or fast, the sides of the lips appear plae or blue
  • Oxygen level falls below 95%

When can isolation end?

  • On the 10th day from the onset of symptoms, given the child does not exhibit symptoms in the last three days.
Continue reading below ↓

How about breastfeeding?

  • Mothers who are exposed to COVID should continue breastfeeding since its benefits outweigh the risk of passing it on to the child.
  • Wash hands before and wear a mask while breastfeeding.

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