COVID-19 as it Relates to Children

  • What should I do if I think my child is sick?
    It is the recommendation that you contact your healthcare provider and explain your or your child’s symptoms.  They will give you direction.  

    What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?
    Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. However, a few children have developed 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?

    • You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
    • 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, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).

    You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 at How to Protect Yourself & Others. Additional information on how COVID-19 is spread is available at How COVID-19 Spreads.

    More information on Keeping Children Healthy during the COVID-19 Outbreak is available online.

    Are symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults?
    No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. COVID-19 can look different in different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit 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.

    CDC and partners are investigating cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. Learn more about COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

    Should children wear face coverings?
    CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth in public settings when around people not living in your household, particularly where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies or children younger than 2 because of the danger of suffocation. Children younger than 2 years of age are listed as an exception as well as anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance. 

    What is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and who is at risk?
    Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care.

    Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C. Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs.

    Can my child hang out with their friends?
    The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. While school is out, children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household. Some children with certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

    Make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as washing their hands often with soap and water. Remember, if children meet outside of school in groups, it can put everyone at risk.