Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children, it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.
Whilst it is extremely important to follow government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured. Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done. Here is some advice to help:
You need urgent help if your child has any of the following:
- Becomes pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to the touch.
- Has pauses in their breathing (apnoeas), has an irregular breathing pattern or starts grunting. For more information visit NHS UK: Grunting.
- Severe difficulty in breathing becoming agitated or unresponsive.
- Is going blue round the lips.
- Has a fit/seizure.
- Becomes extremely distressed (crying inconsolably despite distraction), confused, very lethargic (difficult to wake) or unresponsive.
- Develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure (use the Glass test).
- Has testicular pain, especially in teenage boys.
You need to contact a doctor or nurse today if your child has any of the following:
- Is finding it hard to breathe including drawing in of the muscles below their lower ribs, at their neck or between their ribs (NHS UK: Child Recession) or NHS UK: Head Bobbing.
- Seems dehydrated (dry mouth, sunken eyes, no tears, drowsy or passing less urine than usual).
- Is becoming drowsy (excessively sleepy) or irritable (unable to settle them with toys, TV, food or picking up) – especially if they remain drowsy or irritable despite their fever coming down.
- Has extreme shivering or complains of muscle pain.
- Babies under 3 months of age with a temperature above 38°C / 100.4°F.
- Infants 3-6 months of age with a temperature above 39°C / 102.2°F.
- For all infants and children with a fever above 38°C for more than 5 days.
- Is getting worse or if you are worried.
- Has persistent vomiting and/or persistent severe abdominal pain.
- Has blood in their poo or wee.
- Any limb injury causing reduced movement, persistent pain or head injury causing persistent crying or drowsiness.
However, we recognise during the current coronavirus crisis at peak times, access to a health care professional may be delayed. If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a GP or 111, then take your child to the nearest A&E.
Self care if none of the above features are present:
- You can continue to provide your child care at home. Information is also available on NHS Choices.
- Additional advice is available to families for coping with crying of well babies and can be found by visiting www.iconcope.org online.
- Additional advice is available for children with complex health needs and disabilities and can be found by visiting www.wellchild.org.uk/my-child-is-unwell-but-not-with-covid-19 online.
Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111.