What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus

Last updated: October 23, 2020. Before you visit, please read our updated visitor restrictions

With coronavirus on everyone’s minds, we know parents are looking for advice to keep kids healthy.
John R. Schreiber, MD, MPH, Connecticut Children’s Medical Director of Infection Control, joins the blog to answer your questions.

Is there any information on coronavirus that’s specific to kids?

Children of all ages can become infected with the virus and can spread it to others. Most children with confirmed COVID-19 experienced mild symptoms such as runny nose, fever and cough — similar to a common cold. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported.

> Related: Ask a Pediatrician: How Can I Tell if My Child Has the Flu or COVID-19?

In late April, some health systems in the U.S., U.K. and Europe began reporting cases of a new inflammatory illness in kids, which appears to be linked to coronavirus. The new illness – known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) or pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) – is very rare, but can be serious if left untreated. Learn more.

Are there any special steps parents should take to keep children healthy?

Coronavirus spreads very easily from close person-to-person contact. To protect your child and community, everyone over age 2 should wear a mask, keep at least six feet of distance from other people, avoid crowds, and practice great hygiene.

  • Wear masks in public. (Note: Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.) Until we have a vaccine, masks are one of our best methods for keeping ourselves and others safe.
  • Wash hands — your child’s and yours — often and well with soap and water. (How well? Sing the “happy birthday” song twice!)
  • Make sure everyone covers their mouth when they cough or sneeze, either by coughing into a tissue or their elbow.
  • Regularly clean the surfaces in your home that get a lot of contact, like doorknobs, light switches and the refrigerator handle. Read these tips for disinfecting your baby’s gear.
  • Follow local executive orders to stay home and limit your contact to immediate family. Read social distancing FAQs.
  • Call your pediatrician with any symptoms or questions, or call Connecticut Children’s Pediatric COVID-19 Hotline at 833.226.2362. Our clinicians are available 24/7 to answer your questions, and if appropriate, may be able to schedule a Video Visit with one of our pediatric experts.

> Related: What Should I Do When My Child Has a Common Cold During COVID-19?

Anything else parents should know?

  • Read our physician-in-chief’s answers to your coronavirus FAQs.
  • To speak directly with one of our clinicians, call our Pediatric COVID-19 Hotline at 833.226.2362.
  • For the latest information about Connecticut, call 211, text CTCOVID to 898211, or visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
  • Connecticut Children’s is working closely with the CDC, the nation’s leading public health institute. We recommend their website for the latest news and advice from public health experts: cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Our experts share helpful answers and advice about coronavirus on the Connecticut Children’s blog, Growing Healthy. Check out all of our COVID-19 posts.

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