Most of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) coverage has been on how it has affected the elderly. However, children can also suffer from the virus. According to the CDC, at least three children have died from the coronavirus. It is important to remember that it is rare for children to display symptoms or have adverse outcomes from coronavirus.
Does the Coronavirus Affect Babies?
The coronavirus affects people of all ages, including children and babies. Anyone can contract the virus. That does not mean that everyone is at equal risk of adverse outcomes.
It has been widely reported that the elderly face the most serious danger from the virus. Adults with underlying health conditions such as hypertension or diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing serious health complications if they contract the virus.
As of September 2020, over 80,000 children ages 0-4 have contracted COVID-19.
This is why schools and parks have been closed to the general public despite children and babies being at lower risk of dangerous coronavirus complications.
Have Any Babies Died From the Coronavirus?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that 33 children aged four and younger in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus as of September 2020. Although these cases are extremely rare, and most children and babies do not show any symptoms of the coronavirus, it is important to realize that children are not immune to the virus.
- If you believe that your child may have the coronavirus, you should call your pediatrician immediately.
Your pediatrician will be able to evaluate your child’s symptoms and order a test if the virus is suspected. If your child does have the coronavirus, your pediatrician will determine the best course of treatment. Currently, there is no cure or vaccine for the coronavirus.
Since children with coronavirus typically have more mild symptoms, most doctors do not recommend sending them to the hospital.
Coronavirus in Babies: Symptoms
While symptoms of the coronavirus are mainly the same in both children and adults, there are a few small differences.
Common coronavirus symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
- Respiratory illness
- Sore throat
Children with coronavirus typically develop cold-like symptoms, including:
- Runny nose
- Upset stomach
There is a risk that the coronavirus can worsen the symptoms of babies and children with conditions where the immune system is weakened or suppressed (such as cerebral palsy). However, most children will not face a serious health risk from the coronavirus as mentioned above.
Coronavirus and Pregnancy
Currently, there is no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to contract COVID-19. There is also no evidence that pregnant women who do contract the coronavirus are more likely to have adverse health problems than other adults.
Most pregnant women who have the virus will only experience mild or moderate flu-like symptoms. These symptoms may include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Researchers do not expect pregnancy to put women at greater risk.
Not much is known about how the coronavirus affects newborn babies, but there is no evidence that it increases the risk of a miscarriage. Additionally, there are at least two known cases of transmission from a woman to her child at birth, but the children were well enough to be discharged from the hospital in both cases.
Precautions for New Parents
The best way to keep your children and babies protected from the coronavirus is to follow the government guidelines.
These precautions include:
- Avoid close contact with anyone who displays symptoms of the coronavirus
- Avoid public spaces, crowds, forms of transportation
- Avoid gathering with friends or family — use the phone or the internet instead
- Contact a doctor if anyone in your family develops symptoms of the coronavirus
- Use a tissue for coughs and sneezes, and discard the tissue afterward
- Wash your hands on a regular basis
It is critical that medical staff take extra precautions for pregnant women, fetuses, and newborns — both during the coronavirus crisis and after. Failure to do so could lead to serious and permanent birth injuries.