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Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in children

Advice about symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in children under 18, what to do if you think you or your child has them, and where to get medical advice.

Children and young people aged 18 and under can get coronavirus (COVID-19), but it's usually a mild illness and most get better in a few days.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.

Your child should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and they either:

  • have a high temperature
  • do not feel well enough to go to school, college or childcare, or do their normal activities

They can go back to school, college or childcare when they feel better or do not have a high temperature.

If your child has mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or mild cough, and they feel well enough, they can go to school, college or childcare.

Encourage your child to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and to wash their hands after using or throwing away tissues.

Most children who are unwell will recover in a few days with rest and plenty of fluids.

There is guidance for people with COVID-19 symptoms and other respiratory infections on GOV.UK.

Information:

There's more advice:

Help from NHS 111

Get help from NHS 111 if you're worried about your child or not sure what to do.

Children and babies will still get illnesses that can make them very unwell quickly. It's important to get medical help if you need it.

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