While there is still limited data and a lot to be learned, we know that children are susceptible to coronavirus, but tend to display milder symptoms than adults. Kids will generally have fevers, cough and shortness of breath. They can have runny nose and sore throat as well, but these are slightly less common in coronavirus than in the common cold or influenza. As is true with adults, the most important thing to do to prevent spread of disease is practice good hand hygiene and to avoid touching your face. As the situation evolves in our community, which already has documented cases of community spread, recommendations for prevention will likely become more strict.
While children may not have serious symptoms from the disease itself, they certainly can be affected by the stress and anxiety surrounding what has now officially been declared a pandemic. As is appropriate at this point, COVID-19 is becoming part of most conversations and all news outlets are talking non-stop about coronavirus. Even if you have not explicitly talked to your kids about coronavirus, they have likely heard about it at school and may have questions for you. Here are some links to articles with tips on how to respond to their questions as they come up:
How to Talk to your Kids About Coronavirus — NY Times
Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus — NY Times
There is unfortunately quite a bit of misleading or outdated information available on the internet and in other forms of media as well, so this is a good time to remind yourself and teach your children to question sources and to check facts to avoid spreading misinformation. I found this article offered a very helpful perspective for taking in news stories. For the most comprehensive and updated information, it is best to rely on information from the CDC and San Mateo County Health and we will continue to keep our website up to date with useful curated resources as well.
If you have questions about your child, please do not hesitate to reach out to us with questions or concerns as we all do our best to navigate through these confusing and difficult times.
By Jacqueline Phillips, MD