Reviewed by Nathan Rabinovitch, MD (February 17, 2022)
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.
Shortness of breath
Chills or shaking chills
New loss of taste or smell
Chest pressure or pain
Blue or white face, fingers, or toes
Inability to stay awake
Severe stomach pain
Breathing with a ventilator
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.
What is long COVID?
Mild or moderate COVID-19 lasts about 14 days. When COVID symptoms continue for four weeks or longer after developing acute COVID, a child could have long covid or post acute seqeala of covid (PASC). If the nasal swab test is negative for COVID but your child still has symptoms after 12 weeks then it's possible that your child has long covid.
Children can develop long covid even if they haven’t had symptoms or if they had mild or severe COVID-19.
What causes long covid?
We don’t yet know exactly what causes long covid. Doctors suspect that residue of the virus remains in the body and continues to keep the immune system active, which causes symptoms. Other theories about the cause of long covid are that the body’s organs are being damaged by the immune system because the virus causes the immune system to stay in an overexcited state, both of which causes symptoms.
What are the symptoms of long covid in kids?
Symptoms of long covid depend on how severe your child’s COVID-19 infection was, but common symptoms can include:
The information on our website is medically reviewed and accurate at the time of publication. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, information may have since changed. CDC.gov and your state’s health department may offer additional guidance.