Caring For A Child With COVID-19: Guidelines And Best Practices

Steps to take if your child tests positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 affects all ages, including children. In the Philippines, about 12% of COVID-19 cases are in infants and children. Although the virus is often mild in children, there have been instances where children require hospitalization, especially those with neurological, developmental, or chronic disorders, or who are overweight.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, here are the steps you should follow.

  1. Have your child remain at home to recuperate.

Under the following circumstances, it is advisable for your child to receive care at home: if they have been diagnosed with a mild case of the illness, if they have been tested for the virus due to potential exposure and are waiting for results, or if they are displaying flu-like symptoms even without a confirmed test.

Should your child be resting at home due to COVID-19, here are some ways you can assist:

  • Keep track of their temperature every four hours. 
  • Measure their oxygen levels every six hours using a pulse oximeter, or observe their breathing patterns. 
  • Observe the color, volume, and frequency of their urine. 
  • Ensure they are comfortable and getting enough rest while at home. 
  • Provide them with ample water to maintain hydration. 
  • Administer medication for fever if they are experiencing this symptom.
  • Ensure they are consuming nutritious, easily chewable and digestible food. If an infant has contracted the virus, continue breastfeeding.

In addition, here are a few steps you can take to prevent the virus from spreading within your household:

  • Isolate your child from other individuals and pets in the household. 
  • Have your child occupy a separate room and, if feasible, utilize a different bathroom than the rest of the household. 
  • Designate only one person to care for your child to minimize exposure. 
  • Have your child wear a mask when they are near other household members. 
  • Provide your child with their own set of utensils, dishes, and glasses.

  1. Contact a pediatrician if your child’s symptoms deteriorate. 

If your child displays any of the following signs, promptly notify your pediatrician and inquire about measures to prevent the worsening of symptoms:

  • A persistent fever of 38.1°C. 
  • Ear pain or fluid discharge from the ear. 
  • A prolonged runny or congested nose for two weeks or longer. 
  • A persistent cough or chest pain. 
  • A persistent headache. 
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Abdominal pain. 
  • Difficulty breathing. 
  • Loss of appetite for food and water.

  1. Take your kid to the hospital if you observe indications of a serious condition.

It’s crucial to keep a close eye on your child and watch for any changes in their condition. If you observe any of the following symptoms, take them to the nearest emergency room immediately:

  • Signs of severe dehydration may present as symptoms such as lightheadedness, sleepiness, a dry or tacky mouth, sunken eyes, decreased urination, or tears that are either absent or produced in small amounts.
  • Lack of speech or swallowing ability
  • Disorientation or somnolence
  • Difficulty in breathing, appearance of paleness or a bluish tint around the lips.
  • Oxygen saturation levels measured below 95% on a pulse oximeter.

When is it safe for your child to end their quarantine period?

If your child’s COVID-19 symptoms get better and they are no longer sick, you can end their isolation at home seven days after their symptoms first appeared (with day 0 being the day their symptoms started). After ending isolation, wait a few hours before cleaning the space where they were isolated. If your child has fully recovered from COVID-19 and finished their isolation, they can get the vaccine if they meet the eligibility criteria set by the Department of Health.

For additional details on how to manage COVID-19 in kids, you can download a copy of Philippine Pediatric Society’s A Parent’s Guide to COVID-19 Infection in Children here.

Additional sources:

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-in-babies-and-children
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html