According to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, many common cold symptoms share similarities with the Coronavirus. For this reason, if your child is ill at the beginning of the school year, it may be difficult to tell whether it is the Coronavirus or not, she added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults catch a common cold approximately two to three times each year, and children catch it even more frequently. People usually recover within seven to 10 days of getting a cold, but if they have a weakened immune system, it may take longer. Wen said that cold-like symptoms such as a sore throat, fatigue, and headache are common for both colds and Covid-19.
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It is also common for both viruses to cause coughing, although according to the Mayo Clinic, the cough from Covid-19 typically is drier. It was noted that children are less likely to suffer severe symptoms when they contract Covid-19 compared with adults. In the event that your child exhibits any of the symptoms of Covid-19, and you are unsure if it is the illness, Wen encourages parents to keep a close eye on them. There is a loss of smell or taste associated with Covid-19, according to Wen.
Those who are suffering from severe cold symptoms may experience a loss of their sense of smell or taste, she explained. The problem with Covid- 19 is that it causes you to lose your sense of smell and taste before nasal congestion occurs, Wen adds. In addition to diarrhea and nausea, a person who has contracted Covid-19 may also experience vomiting, which doesn’t occur with a common cold.
In addition to the common cold and COVID-19, there are various viruses that can cause them. Mayo Clinic notes that SARS-CoV-2 causes CDCID-19, while rhinoviruses can cause the common cold.
Test your child today
You should not send your child to school if you suspect they have Covid-19, advised Wen. Wen said that she is sure no parent would want their children to spread the illness to other kids in their class or to their classmates’ families, or to have to shut down the class because their child is symptomatic and may have spread the illness.
You should refer your child for a test for Covid-19 as part of the next step Wen recommended. It is much easier and more accessible to have testing done than it was a year ago, she added, and parents should ask their pediatricians about available options. Testing places for Covid-19 should be tailored to the area in which you live, so the best option can vary based on your physical location. Local health departments may have testing sites available, or children may be able to go to a clinic or other testing site.
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Symptoms of mild illnesses don’t require a doctor’s appointment
Those who have children with mild Covid-19 symptoms should think twice before visiting a doctor, Wen advised.
When mild symptoms are present, whether it’s Covid or another virus, we recommend you do not visit the doctor unless your pediatrician has requested you come in, Wen said. You can transmit the disease to someone else if you have symptoms, Wen warned.
Make sure your child is vaccinated
The Covid-19 vaccine is available to children age 12 and older, and Dr. Wen recommends parents ensure their children are vaccinated as soon as possible. To provide the greatest protection from two-dose vaccines, it takes two doses followed by two weeks.
Wen reiterated the importance of vaccination for parents since their teens will not contract Covid-19 and could effectively miss school and other social activities with their friends if they do not.