Family Healthcast: How to know if your child has COVID-19 or another childhood illness

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — We just hit six million cases of coronavirus in the United States. The latest numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics show that COVID-19 is spreading in children at a much higher rate.

The alarming rise in the number of children who have tested positive and been hospitalized with coronavirus over the summer has prompted our question.

“I saw your report about children and wonder how we will know this fall and winter whether our kids fever and runny nose could be symptoms of COVID-19?”

We checked with a few of our What’s Going Around pediatricians and they said it is very hard to tell because the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other childhood illnesses.

The most common COVID-19 symptoms in children are a cough and/or fever, according to the CDC. Pediatricians have also often observed diarrhea or congestion in children who have tested positive.

Symptoms can also include the following:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing

Some of those symptoms are also signs of other illnesses that circulate during the cold and flu season.

But, parents should be aware of a rare syndrome known as MIS-C, which has more distinguishable symptoms and characteristics.

The condition is associated with a fever of 101 or higher that doesn’t go away, a red rash and abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting.

Our doctors said it is important to remember that parents know their children best.

For example, if your child always gets allergies this time of the year, then it’s probably safe to assume that’s what is causing their runny nose.

But, if your child’s symptoms seem out of the ordinary, it is best to talk to your child’s pediatrician.


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