Expert: Kids experiencing COVID-19, common cold symptoms should stay home
TOLEDO, Ohio — Who would have thought a runny nose could be so disruptive? If you have school-age kids, you know the feeling all too well. It’s currently recommended that children with COVID-19 symptoms, which can be similar to those of the common cold, stay home from school.
“The recommendations are any kid who’s having a new onset of fever, runny nose, cough, congestion, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, that they get evaluated by their health care provider,” said Dr. Adam Keating, a pediatrician with the Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Keating understands how frustrating these guidelines can be for families. However, he reminds us how quickly the virus can spread to others and says it’s important to err on the side of caution when evaluating whether to send a child to school.
If your child has symptoms and you’d like to rule out COVID-19 rather than wait for the symptoms to resolve, Doctor Keating says to skip the rapid at-home tests. He says ask your medical provider to order a PCR test, which is processed by a lab and considered to be the most accurate.
“If they have a little bit of a runny nose and a PCR-based covid test came back negative, then I think we can say that it was negative and this isn’t COVID. So, if they’re feeling well enough, then those kids can go back to school. I would recommend that they wear a mask so they don’t spread the cold around the school as well,” he says.
He adds that most kids with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, but there are rare cases that can become severe. If your child is having trouble breathing or shortness of breath, they should be seen by a medical provider immediately.