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If you are concerned your child has COVID-19 please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 or visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus for more information.
COVID-19 is a viral infection caused by a type of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Most children who get COVID-19 have a mild infection that resembles a common cold or flu. Symptoms usually last between two to seven days. Children may also show no signs or symptoms (asymptomatic infection).
Children with obesity, chronic heart, lung or
neurological problems may become more unwell from COVID-19. COVID-19 can be a
serious illness for older people. In
children, the infection is usually mild, and the need to stay in hospital is
Your child may have symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms are like ones present in other respiratory viruses, such as the flu. They are:
If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms above, here’s what to do:
When to see a doctor more urgently. Your child may be:
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 for both mild and asymptomatic infections. If your child is diagnosed with COVID-19 and is uncomfortable, you may treat them as you would with any cold or flu. This might include:
Experiencing a fever is common and expected with most viral illnesses. If your child is happy and comfortable, their fever does not need any specific treatment. If your child is irritable or appears uncomfortable, paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used. Ibuprofen is best taken with food and no more than three times a day. Paracetamol can be taken on an empty stomach up to four times a day. You can use both at the same time or alternate between the two to allow more frequent dosing if needed.
It is common for COVID-19 to spread in a household.
Good personal hygiene and physical distancing helps to protect your child from COVID-19 and reduce its spread. Hand washing is a key part of good personal hygiene. It’s one of the simplest and best ways to prevent the spread of illness, including the spread of COVID-19.
When your child sneezes, coughs or blows their nose, your child should:
Follow up is not routinely required. If your child has prolonged symptoms (more than 14 days), or develops new symptoms after recovering from COVID-19, please see your GP for further assessment.
Rare complications can occur following COVID-19 infection in children and adolescents:
If your child has these signs, you should see a doctor immediately.
If your child tests positive for COVID-19, they need to isolate at home with all household members until you receive advice from the Victorian Department of Health. You can still take your child to hospital or call an ambulance while they have COVID-19. Please visit the
Department of Health website for a helpful list of what to expect for isolation periods.
More tips can be found here.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital General Medicine and Hospital In The Home departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed March 2022.
Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.