Coronavirus: The symptoms to watch out for in kids

In the midst of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak, it can be a confusing and scary time for parents.

With everyone suddenly a health expert - including many fellow parents at school pick-up - it can be hard to know what to look for in kids. This is of course exacerbated by the fact a runny nose and sore throat are extremely common in children at this time of year. 

But let's take comfort in knowing there are far fewer reported coronavirus cases affecting children rather than adults and based on the information available to us, the symptoms appear to be fairly mild in kids. 

"At this point, the evidence suggests that children have a reduced risk of developing symptomatic infections," Karen Kotloff, head of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Maryland School of Medicine told the Wall Street Journal.

"They seem to be less likely to become infected and when they get infected they seem to be less likely to develop severe disease."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the signs to watch out for in children include: 

  • A fever
  • A runny nose
  • A persistent cough

Vomiting and diarrhoea were also reported in at least one child with COVID-19 in China.

But according to the Wall Street Journal, even if they're not suffering severe symptoms themselves, children may "shed" large amounts of virus and may do so for many days. 

According to recent studies, children had the virus in their saliva for an average of 12 days before showing symptoms - not so great for a stuffy, packed classroom. 

Some of the best ways to limit the spread, experts say, are making sure kids are washing their hands frequently, keeping them out of school and away from other people if they are sick, and cleaning surfaces often.

And as with everything, listening to health professionals and taking expert advice is always the way to stay informed - not using social media or chatting to other parents.