Children can get coronavirus (COVID-19), but they seem to get it less often than adults and it's usually less serious.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
What to do if your child has symptoms
If your child has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild:
- Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if they have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
- Your child should stay at home and not have visitors (self-isolate) until you get the test result – they can only leave home to have the test. Check if you and anyone else your child lives with need to self-isolate.
Important: Help from NHS 111
Get help from NHS 111 if you're worried about your child or not sure what to do.
- For children aged 5 or over – get help from NHS 111 online.
- For children under 5 – call 111.
What to do if your child seems very unwell
Children and babies will still get illnesses that can make them very unwell quickly. It's important to get medical help if you need it.
Urgent advice: Call 111 or your GP surgery if your child:
- is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a fever
- is 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a fever
- has other signs of illness, such as a rash, as well as a high temperature (fever)
- has a high temperature that's lasted for 5 days or more
- does not want to eat, or is not their usual self and you're worried
- has a high temperature that does not come down with paracetamol
- is dehydrated – for example, nappies are not very wet, sunken eyes, and no tears when they're crying
Immediate action required: Call 999 if your child:
- has a stiff neck
- has a rash that does not fade when you press a glass against it (use the "glass test" from Meningitis Now)
- is bothered by light
- has a seizure or fit for the first time (they cannot stop shaking)
- has unusually cold hands and feet
- has pale, blotchy, blue or grey skin
- has a weak, high-pitched cry that's not like their usual cry
- is drowsy and hard to wake
- is extremely agitated (does not stop crying) or is confused
- finds it hard to breathe and sucks their stomach in under their ribs
- has a soft spot on their head that curves outwards
- is not responding like they usually do, or not interested in feeding or usual activities