Coronavirus symptoms may present differently in children, according to Professor Tim Spector. His advice comes after a surge in demand for coronavirus tests in the UK which has shown to be four times the system’s capacity.
According to Professor Spector, who developed the COVID-19 symptoms tracker app, children with a runny nose don’t have the COVID-19 virus and shouldn’t be getting tested.
He also revealed children under the age of 18 with a cough or congestion would almost certainly be suffering from the common cold, which famously sweeps through schools at this time of year.
In an effort to release some of the strain on the testing system, Professor Spector said parents should be aware of the symptoms specifically attributed to children before taking them out of school and trying to get their hands on a test.
“Kids really don’t seem to lose that sense of smell and they also don’t seem to get the cough and shortness of breath as much either,” he told The Telegraph.
“So it’s a different picture at different age groups, presumably because the immune systems are behaving differently.”
When asked whether parents of children with a cough and a sniffle should not be burdening the NHS, he answered: “Certainly for the next few weeks, while the whole system is stretched and this major school cold outbreak goes, I think that’s the sensible advice.”
But Professor Spector’s guidance contradicts what the government is currently advising.
On the NHS website it states if you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus to get a test to check if you have the virus as soon as possible.
The symptoms tracker has revealed the majority of children who test positive for COVID-19 suffer from fatigue and a headache.
Around half have a fever, and more than a third have a sore throat and a loss of appetite.
One in six children have been shown to have an unusual skin rash
A third don’t have any of the 20 potential symptoms listed one the app, suggesting they are asymptomatic.
Children have been shown to be infected with the virus, to get sick from it, and to spread it to others.
But fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains: “Children, like adults, who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms (“asymptomatic”) can still spread the virus to others.
“Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all.
“However, some children can get severely ill from COVID-19.
“They might require hospitalisation, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. In rare cases, they might die.”
The CDC and partners are currently investigating a rare but serious medical condition associated with COVID-19 in children called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
But they don’t yet know what causes it and is at increased risk for developing it.
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