Don't ignore the sniffles: COVID-19 symptoms in children

Don't ignore symptoms like sniffly noses or upset tummies in your kids, urges the Western NSW Local Health District.
Don't ignore symptoms like sniffly noses or upset tummies in your kids, urges the Western NSW Local Health District.

Parents are being urged not to ignore sniffly noses or upset tummies among their children.

These common - and usually trivial - things might be the only symptoms your child shows of COVID-19 but identifying whether or not they have the pandemic virus is absolutely vital, says Western NSW Local Health District Chief Executive Scott McLachlan.

Cowra was one of the first communities to see lockdown lifted but within days identified a case of COVID-19 in a child who had attended school in the final week of last term. The source of their infection could not be identified.

By Tuesday of this week there were 28 cases.

"We have seen seen in the last week and 10 days a lot of transmission in kids aged under 10," Mr McLachlan said this week.

"We know that kids at that age are very tactile, they're in contact with each other a lot so I'd urge everyone not just in Cowra but across the whole of the region - if your kids have got any signs of symptoms please come and get tested.

"That's one of the most crucial things we can do at the moment to get in front of the spread."

The early stages of the Dubbo outbreak also saw a high percentage of young people contract COVID-19 and Mr McLachlan says they have not been getting seriously ill.

But parents should take it seriously.

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"We know that kids at that age don't get really crook - they certainly don't end up in hospital with really severe respiratory illness or other issues," Mr McLachlan said.

"But they definitely do get some of the (symptoms of) sniffly nose, scratchy throat, a bit of a wheezy chest to some degree, feeling nauseous.

"Those are the signs that all mums and dads should be looking out for.

"Don't be relaxed about this.

"We know that when kids pick it up, quite often the whole of the family will get COVID in the household within a number of days."

A COVID diagnosis will connect your family to NSW Health support through the specialist care in the community team, Mr McLachlan said.

"If parents and other people in the household haven't contracted COVID yet there's some things that are particularly important in trying to minimise the spread in those households," he said.

They can also ensure that anyone whose condition does deteriorate has access to support.

"We've got a specialist team from the Sydney Children's Hospital who can be brought in at a minute's notice to provide care in any kids that have got complex health issues."

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