As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, it can cause worry for parents if their child comes down with COVID-19 symptoms. Akron Children’s Hospital’s infectious disease physician, Eric Robinette, MD, MPH advises that the best first step is to keep your child home and contact your child’s primary care physician for advice.
“Talk with your child’s doctor first before going for COVID-19 testing,” said Dr. Robinette. “Providers know your child’s individual health needs, as well as state and local mandates, infection rates and availability of testing centers in your area, which help determine if testing is needed or where to go for testing.”
While awaiting advice, keep your child at home and let close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 since an infected person can spread the virus 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive.
Recommendations for testing
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends consideration for testing if children, regardless of age, have any COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, chills, cough, congestion, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, body aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, nausea or diarrhea.
Children may also be considered for testing if the child is in close contact with an individual with confirmed or probable COVID-19 infection and children scheduled for an invasive medical procedure. Despite a low probability of positivity, testing for COVID-19 is the only way to identify children with mild symptoms who may pose a risk to their families and classmates.
If testing is recommended, most testing locations require a screening process be completed prior to testing. Always call before you arrive at a testing location because some centers may no longer offer testing.
“As a pediatric health system, Akron Children’s doesn’t have the same number of COVID-19 tests on hand as adult facilities because their need is greater at this time,” said Dr. Robinette. “We have strict criteria in place regarding testing to be sure that those who are symptomatic can be tested. For Akron Children’s patients, a call to their pediatric primary care provider can help determine if testing is needed.”
Additionally, there are several COVID-19 testing types available so discussing options with your provider beforehand is helpful. It also gives you an opportunity to talk with your child about what to expect before arriving at a testing facility.
Learn more about testing and recommendations on isolation and quarantine in school-aged children from the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Or, click here for additional testing guidance from the State of Ohio.