Coronavirus / COVID-19 (Pediatric): Symptoms

Reviewed by Pamela L. Zeitlin, MD, MPhil, PhD

Symptoms of COVID-19 in Children

In cases reported around the globe, COVID-19 looks different in children than it does in adults. Generally, most kids appear to be asymptomatic with mild to moderate disease. When children do have symptoms of coronavirus, they are less severe than symptoms that adults experience. Most kids recover within one to two weeks after symptoms appear.

Children are less likely to report symptoms, so parents need to watch and ask how their kids are feeling.

The most common COVID-19 symptoms in children are:


Less common symptoms in kids include:

  • Fatigue

  • Nasal congestion

  • Diarrhea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Chills or shaking chills

  • Muscle pain

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell


Pediatric Symptoms that Require Emergency Medical Attention:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Chest pressure or pain

  • Confusion

  • High fever

  • Neck pain

  • Blue or white face, fingers, or toes

  • Inability to stay awake

  • Severe stomach pain


Risk Factors & Complications for Kids

Children with chronic asthma and other respiratory diseases, heart disease, immune-related diseases, cancer and obesity have an increased risk of getting COVID-19. These kids also are more vulnerable to serious complications including:
  • Organ failure

  • Breathing with a ventilator

  • Sepsis

  • Heart failure

  • Blood clots


Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)

Doctors around the country are reporting that some kids who previously had COVID-19 are experiencing inflammation in the skin, eyes, blood vessels or heart. This new syndrome has been named Multisystem-Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), formerly referred to as pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome, or PIMS. It is rare and does not seem to be affecting a large number of children. Learn more.​


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