Children in classroom wearing protective masks

There’s a lot of information out there about COVID-19 and the risks it poses to your family. Scientists and public health officials are actively studying SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and learning more every day. New information, however, can often raise new questions, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are some common questions and answers about COVID-19 and kids.

Are children less susceptible to COVID-19?

We still do not know the true number of children at any given time who are infected with COVID-19, in part because children are more likely than adults to have asymptomatic infections. However, children of all ages can easily spread the virus to other people. For this reason, it is critical that your family follow current CDC guidance on masking and social distancing, and make sure all eligible family members are vaccinated against COVID-19. 

New variants: Are they really more contagious?

You have likely heard about multiple new variants of the COVID virus — also called “strains” or “mutations” — that have been discovered around the globe. While all viruses mutate (meaning, change their genetic material), these variants do appear to bind more tightly to the receptor that sits on the surface of cells. This may explain why they may be more contagious than other strains.

Thankfully, these variants do not seem to cause more severe illness than our original COVID-19 strains.

The best way to protect yourself and your family against all strains of COVID-19 is to follow the safety measures above. Get more tips on how to keep your family safe.

My child had COVID-19; are they going to develop MIS-C?

Most children with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and need no advanced medical care. In a very small number of children, however, the virus seems to set off an excessive immune response, resulting in inflammation of the eyes, skin and some internal organs. 

This condition is called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), and it can be very serious, affecting a child’s blood pressure and heart function. If your child develops any MIS-C symptoms, especially a high fever that lasts several days, call your pediatrician or take your child to the Emergency Department. MIS-C requires hospitalization, and most children recover quickly with treatment.

Read more about MIS-C.

When can my child be vaccinated against COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group. Visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination guidance.

Reviewed by Susan E. Coffin, MD, MPH, Division of Infectious Diseases

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