COVID-19 in Children

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an illness caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be about the same for children as in adults, at 2-14 days with an average of 6 days.

Signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in children include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Myalgia
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion or rhinorrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Poor appetite or poor feeding

Children infected with SARS-CoV-2 may have many of these non-specific symptoms, only have a few (such as only upper respiratory symptoms or only gastrointestinal symptoms), or may be asymptomatic. The most common symptoms in children are cough and/or fever. A recent systematic review estimated that 16% of children with SARS-CoV-2 infection are asymptomatic, but evidence suggests that as many as half of pediatric infections may be asymptomatic. The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children are similar to those of other infections and noninfectious processes, including influenza, streptococcal pharyngitis, and allergic rhinitis.

As of October 22, 2020, remdesivir, an antiviral agent, was the only drug approved for the treatment of COVID-19. It was indicated for the treatment of COVID-19 disease in hospitalized adults and children aged 12 years and older who weigh at least 40 kg.

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