How does COVID-19 affect children?

Most children with COVID-19 will only experience a mild illness or will have no symptoms at all and can safely remain at home without the need for medical support.

Common COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea and lethargy
  • Loss of taste or smell

As with all viruses, your child is more at risk if they have other medical conditions such as asthma, obesity, diabetes; inflammatory bowel disease or they are immune-compromised.

How should I care for my child at home?

When caring for your child at home, it’s recommended you:

  • give your child small amounts of fluid, often. They may not feel like drinking much so may need your help and encouragement
  • offer your child food regularly
  • encourage rest
  • use paracetamol or ibuprofen only if you think your child is in pain or appears uncomfortable with fever. Do not give more than the recommend dosage and check with your medical professional if your child is taking other regular medication.

What if my child needs medical support?

You can access health support via the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (available 24 hours, 7 days) or your usual GP.

For those who need extra care, COVIDKids is a dedicated South Australian service for children and young people with COVID-19, managed by specialist staff at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Your GP will assist you with referring children to this service.

If your child is displaying any of the following symptoms or signs, please call Triple Zero (000)

  • Difficult, or fast breathing
  • Pale or mottled skin colour
  • Excessive drowsiness or confusion
  • Persistent fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius, which does not reduce after giving paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Poor fluid intake, or reduced frequency of feeds (for infants)
  • Reduced urine or wet nappies
  • Chest pain
  • Severe or worsening abdominal pain
  • Frequent vomiting and or diarrhoea
  • Decreased appetite

What is COVIDKids?

COVIDKids is a referral only service that gives children, young people and their carers direct access to experienced paediatric nurses and doctors at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital who can provide extra support to those who need it.

The expert COVIDKids team will virtually assess children with COVID-19 and offer support and medical advice to families in their own home.

For more information, visit the Women’s and Children’s Hospital COVIDKids website.