Family & Parenting

Long Covid and children - what to do if you're worried

Children are less likely to be seriously ill with Covid-19 than adults but can also suffer long-term effects from the virus
By Lisa Salmon, PA

ALTHOUGH children are less likely to be seriously ill with Covid-19 than adults, it's clear that some are suffering long-term after-effects from the virus.

Office of National Statistics data suggests 7.4 per cent of children aged two to 11 and 8.2 per cent aged 12-16 report continued symptoms.

The support group Long Covid Kids says symptoms in children are wide-ranging and can include loss of appetite, eye pain, nose bleeds, neck aches, headaches, brain fog, coughing, joint pain, rashes, allergies, tummy ache, itchiness, cold hands and feet, and insomnia.

And research from the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome into long Covid in children found more than half of children aged between six and 16 years old who got the virus had at least one symptom lasting more than 120 days. More research does need to be done.

So what can you do if you're worried your child's dealing with long Covid?

Go back to your doctor

Don't be afraid to take your child back to the doctor if you're worried about continuing symptoms. And if you feel it's necessary, ask for a second opinion. Your child's health is far more important than any worries you might have about annoying the doctors.

Record symptoms

Try to write any possible symptoms down, as this could help your doctor. Long Covid Kids says children with the condition often have clusters of symptoms that come and go, and may sometimes have a flare-up of old symptoms after a potential new coronavirus exposure.

Encourage your child to rest

If your child does have long Covid, they are very likely to be tired a lot, so encourage them to get as much rest as possible.

Don't send them back to school too quickly

It's understandable that parents want children to get back to the classroom after schools have been closed so much over the past year, but your child's health's the most important thing and if they're showing long Covid symptoms, they may be better off staying at home. Your school should be happy to send work home for them to do.

Be understanding

Children may start to behave differently if they've got long Covid. Bear this in mind when you're disciplining your child - Long Covid Kids says behaviour changes are sometimes seen in children with long Covid before symptoms even appear.

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Family & Parenting