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What are the symptoms of coronavirus in children under the age of 2? Are there any signs or symptoms that are more significant in those ages?

In general, illness from the coronavirus (COVID-19) tends to be less severe in children than in adults. However, complications can develop in persons of any age, including children, and are more likely to occur with underlying risk factors such as chronic lung disease, some congenital heart disease, severe obesity, diabetes, immunocompromised states (cancer chemotherapy, organ transplantation) and other conditions. Symptoms of this illness in younger children usually are similar to other viral respiratory infections and include fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose and sore throat, but also muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting and headache.

Some studies have suggested that illness might be more severe in children under 1 year of age compared to older children, but other studies have not shown this difference. The more severe multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) so far seems to be much less common in young infants compared to older children.

Parents should contact their child’s healthcare provider if their child develops fever or other concerning symptoms. Importantly, children should receive all recommended immunizations for childhood diseases at the recommended age. One of the consequences of the ongoing pandemic has been a delay in children receiving life-saving vaccines which places all children at risk for severe illness from whooping cough, measles, mumps, influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Bernhard Wiedermann Bernhard Wiedermann, MD, MA, is a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases. His research and clinical interests include: general pediatric infections such as Lyme disease, unexplained and recurrent fevers, malaria and other tropical diseases, bone and joint infections, medical education, distance learning and telemedicine and evidence-based medicine.

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