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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

The COVID-19 outbreak hasn’t been affecting children at the same rate as adults. At this time, the CDC reports infections among children are remarkably low. However, some children have developed a more serious condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Currently, information about this syndrome is limited. CDC is working with state and local health departments to learn more about MIS-C.

How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?

The best way to avoid getting sick with COVID-19 is to avoid close contact with others. When you do go out, wear a face covering and stay at least six feet away from other people whenever possible. 

In addition, you may stop the spread of COVID-19 by doing the following to stay healthy: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, like tables, counter tops, light switches, doorknobs and cabinet handles.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • As always, talk to your primary care provider about any symptoms or questions.

Additional information from the CDC: Keeping Children Healthy during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Are the symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults?

No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. CDC guidelines state that for many people, being sick with COVID-19 is like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths. Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems. 

How Do You Test for COVID-19?

To test for coronavirus, healthcare providers take a mucus sample from the nose and back of the throat for testing in a lab. Read more about testing at CHKD here. 

CHKD's lab will only perform COVID-19 testing with a doctor's order. We are not a community screening site. In most cases, specimens must be collected in the doctors' office and sent to the CHKD lab for processing.

Children who come to CHKD's emergency department or one of our urgent care centers with active symptoms of COVID-19 will have specimens collected at the time of their visit. The CHKD lab also collects specimens for children who are being tested for COVID-19 prior to surgery. 

    Can my child hang out with their friends?

    The keys to slowing the spread of COVID-19 are masking, hand washing, and social distancing. The CDC recommends that children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes together, they should be wearing their mask and staying 6 feet away from anyone who is not part of their household.

    The CDC recommends encouraging children to practice everyday preventive behaviors.

    More from the CDC: Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19 in Children

    What if Someone in My Household Has a Suspected or Confirmed Case of COVID-19?

    If you, or someone in your household, has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19:

    • Stay home, except to get medical care.
    • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
    • Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
    • Get rest and plenty of fluids.
    • If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, the entire household should stay home.
    • You should be contacted by your local health department after your positive test.

    At Home:

    • Separate yourself from others in your home. Stay in a specific room and use a separate bathroom, if possible.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw them in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water is not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.


    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.

    Monitor your symptoms:

    • Seek medical attention if your illness gets worse, such as difficulty breathing.
    • Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have COVID-19.
    • If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have COVID-19.
    • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day, including counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

    Discontinuing home isolation:

    If you have been directed to isolate at home, your local health department will notify you when it's safe to resume normal activities outside of the home. Be sure to follow their recommendations. 

      What Else Should I Know?

      In general, coronaviruses are not new. They are part of a large family of viruses that are common in people and animals. Chances are that you’ve had a coronavirus infection in the past but just called it a cold. Coronaviruses can infect the respiratory tract and cause symptoms like a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever. There are six different coronaviruses that can infect humans, and most often the symptoms are mild to moderate and last for just a few days. So, keep in mind, it’s possible for someone you know to have a common coronavirus that is not COVID-19. For more information about coronavirus, visit the   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

      Keep doing the things you do every day during cold and flu season to keep your family healthy. This includes washing hands well and often, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding contact with people who are sick. Also, be sure to maintain social distancing and follow the current guidelines of our state and local public health districts.

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