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Common signs of coronavirus in children to watch out for

Published Oct 20th, 2020 7:32PM EDT
Coronavirus symptoms
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  • Children can be infected with COVID-19, just like adults, albeit not at the same rate or to the same degree — and, moreover, they don’t necessarily present the same coronavirus symptoms, either.
  • A team of UK researchers is out with the results of a new study running through a list of some of the most common COVID-19 symptoms reported in children who were symptomatic for the virus.
  • The team’s study also walks through ways to differentiate COVID-19 and the common cold in children.


said in recent days that a coronavirus vaccine may not be recommended for children at first, guidance that seems related to the fact that most of the drugmakers working on a vaccine have only been testing it on adults. “However, clinical trials continue to expand those recruited to participate,” the CDC notes, hinting that the trials could encompass children down the line. However, immunologist Sallie Permar, MD, PhD, recently told the Association of American Medical Colleges that “A pediatric vaccine would not only help children — it will be the basis of eventually eliminating COVID-19 in our population.” Which is the same reason that the American Association of Pediatrics penned a letter this month to the Food and Drug Administration, which includes the following: “It is counter to the ethical principle of distributive justice to allow children to take on great burdens during this pandemic but not have the opportunity to benefit from a vaccine … because they have not been included in vaccine trials.”

For now, knowing the coronavirus symptoms that can present themselves in children will be the key to keeping young people safe. Along those lines, a team of researchers from the UK — including researchers from the data science company Zoe, as well as King’s College London and Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospitals — is out with new data that highlights COVID-19 symptoms at different ages.

Their data shows that children who contract COVID-19 most commonly display the following symptoms — fatigue, headaches, and fever, while a few also develop a cough or report losing the sense of taste or smell.

To produce this work on identifying common coronavirus symptoms in children, the researchers looked at data from almost 200 children who tested positive for the virus. While a solid third of the children were asymptomatic, this study did reveal that children with symptoms present didn’t necessarily show the same as those seen in adult COVID-19 patients.

Of the children who showed symptoms, 55% reported fatigue, 54% had a headache, and around 50% had a fever. Other common symptoms included sore throat, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite, among others.

It’s also important to point out that the researchers found a way to differentiate between COVID-19 and colds in children, which will be especially critical with the arrival of winter. One way you can apparently tell the difference is that many of the symptomatic children in this study showed unusual skin rashes, a symptom not generally seen when a child develops a garden-variety cold.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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