The symptoms of COVID-19 appear to be similar in children and adults. Children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported.

Babies under 1 year old and children with certain underlying conditions may be more likely to have severe illness from COVID-19. Studies are ongoing regarding how the disease impacts everyone, including children.

Health officials are advising parents to watch for symptoms related to a rare but serious inflammatory condition seen in children and linked to COVID-19, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). If you notice any of the following symptoms, call your pediatrician:

  • A fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Rash or changes in skin color
  • Trouble breathing (call 911 if this symptom is present)
  • Your child seems confused or overly sleepy​

Be sure to let your pediatrician know if your child has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to the virus. Your pediatrician will let you know if your child can be seen in the office or if you need to go to the emergency department.

While potentially serious, MIS-C appears to be rare, and most cases of COVID-19 in children are mild.

Sources:
CDC: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
CDC: For Parents – MIS-C associated with COVID-19
CDC: MIS-C and COVID-19
AAP: MIS-C and COVID-19