How does COVID-19 affect children?
Children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Children, like adults, who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms (asymptomatic) can still spread the virus to others.
COVID-19 in children and teens
Families with vaccinated and unvaccinated members
Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. However, some children can get severely ill from COVID-19. 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.
Read More: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)
Should I continue well visits and routine vaccine visits for my child during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Routine well child visits and vaccine visits are still important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newborn visits: Ideally, newborn visits should be done in-person so that your pediatric healthcare provider can check your baby's growth and feeding, check for jaundice, complete newborn screening tests, and get any repeat or follow-up testing, if necessary.
Well child visits: Your pediatric healthcare provider will check your child's development at well child visits.
Vaccine visits: Vaccines are an important part of keeping your child healthy, especially if your child is under 2 years old. Vaccines help provide immunity before being exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases such as measles, influenza (flu) and pertussis (whooping cough). This will help prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases among your children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your child has a pre-existing mental health condition, please continue their treatment and watch for new or worsening symptoms. If you notice anything changing with your child, contact their healthcare or mental health provider. Oakland Community Health Network has a crisis hotline open 24/7: 800-231-1127.
Talking to your child about COVID-19
It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking the necessary actions that reduce the risk of illness.
Resources to help you talk to your child about COVID-19:
I’m pregnant, how do I protect myself from COVID- 19?
- Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant people and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people.
- Pregnant people with COVID-19 are also at increased risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and might be at increased risk for other poor pregnancy outcomes.
- Pregnant and recently pregnant people and those who live with or visit them need to take steps to protect themselves from getting sick with COVID-19.
- Learn more about COVID-19 and pregnancy.
Breastfeeding and COVID-19
Current evidence suggests that breast milk is not likely to spread the virus to babies.
You, along with your family and healthcare providers, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding. Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most babies.
If you are breastfeeding, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Keeping your baby safe and healthy
- Do not put a face shield or mask on your baby
- Limit visitors to see your new baby
- Bringing people who do not live with you into your home can increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
- Some people without symptoms can spread the virus.
- Limit in-person gatherings and consider other options, like celebrating virtually, for people who want to see your new baby. If you do plan to have in-person visits, ask guests to stay home if they are sick and ask them to stay 6 feet away from you and your baby, wear a mask, and wash their hands when visiting your home. For more information, please see considerations for attending or hosting a small gathering.
- Keep distance between your baby and people who do not live in your household or who are sick
- Know possible signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection among babies
- More information about breastfeeding and caring for newborns during the pandemic