Symptoms of Covid-19 in children

Dr. Binoy Nellissery, Pediatrics And Neonatology – Specialist, Aster Hospital, Qusais

Q. What are the Usual signs of coronavirus in children?

Symptoms of COVID -19 in children are similar to adults, but are milder compared to adults. Some children may not present any symptoms at all. Usual symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath in majority of cases. Few minor symptoms like muscle pain, running nose, headache, vomiting, stomach ache, loose stools, loss of smell or taste can also be experienced. Babies with COVID-19 might have trouble feeding. 

Q. Any rare symptoms that parents should know about? 

There are rare reports of children with COVID-19 developing inflammation throughout the body. This can lead to organ damage if it is not treated quickly. Experts have used different names for this condition, including "multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children" and "pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome”. The symptoms include:

Persistent Fever 

Belly pain, vomiting or diarrhea

Neck pain


Red eyes

Excessive tiredness

Low blood pressure

Heart involvement

Q. What are the signs that a child with coronavirus might need medical attention?

If your child has a fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19, call the doctor. They can tell you what to do and whether your child needs to be seen in person.

Take the child to the emergency department  right away if your child shows the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Pain or pressure in their chest
  • Blue lips or face
  • Severe belly pain
  • Acts confused or does not like behave like normal self
  • Cannot wake up or stay awake
  • Troubled feeding in young babies 

Q. What should you do if you think your child might have coronavirus in the UAE?

Take your child to a doctor and if a doctor suspects that your child has COVID-19, they might take a swab from inside their nose for testing. These tests can help the doctor figure out if your child has COVID-19 or another illness. There is no known specific treatment for COVID-19. Most healthy children who get infected are able to recover at home, and usually get better within a week or 2. It's important to keep your child at home, and away from other people, until your doctor or nurse says it's safe for them to go back to their normal activities. 

As many children can be asymptomatic carriers of the disease, all necessary measures should be taken to minimize the spread of infection. These include wearing a mask in public places for children above 2 years, social/ physical distancing specially from people in the high-risk category and following physical and hand hygiene measures.

Q. If a child is coughing or sneezing, how likely is it to be coronavirus?

It could be any viral respiratory infection, the chance of it being COVID-19 infection depends on the following: 

  • The child had close contact with COVID-19 patients 
  • Doctor feels strongly about COVID-19 infection after checking the child and after evaluating the test results(Blood test, x-ray etc)
  • Associated symptoms like rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, loose stools 
  • Symptoms persisting beyond the expected time of resolution