COVID-19: When to take your child to the ER

Due to the highly contagious Omicron variant, there has been a surge in positive COVID-19 cases across the country. This increased spread of COVID-19 has affected children as well as emergency rooms.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children

Your child can show COVID-19 symptoms anywhere between 2 and 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and some children may not show any symptoms.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 in children can include:

When and where to get your child tested for COVID-19

The surge of COVID-19 cases in children, as well as a rise in other respiratory illnesses, has meant a spike in visits to the ER. If your child was exposed to COVID-19 or shows mild symptoms, it's best to call your child's primary care provider for guidance.

If your child's primary care provider is unavailable and your child has non-life-threatening symptoms, you can take them to an urgent care location for medical care or testing. COVID-19 testing is available in many non-hospital locations. See COVID-19 community testing locations available in North Texas and how you can prepare your child for a COVID-19 test.

Signs your child needs to go to the ER for COVID-19

COVID-19 symptoms in children are often mild. However, children can and do experience severe illness. Watch for warning signs that your child requires emergency care for COVID-19, such as:

Get emergency medical help immediately if your child shows any of these signs.

How to care for your child if they have COVID-19

It can be scary to learn that your child has COVID-19, but most children have mild illness and are able to recover at home. For mild symptoms, talk with your child's primary care provider and follow their instructions for care. People who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 and test positive can ask if they would benefit from monoclonal antibody therapy or antiviral treatment.

Use these tips to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and help with your child's recovery:

Learn more about COVID-19

Children's Health? is committed to remaining a trusted source of health information and care for you and your family during this time. See more resources to keep your family healthy at the Children's Health COVID-19 hub.

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Many children with COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms. But like adults, some children can develop serious, potentially life-threatening symptoms that require emergency care.

Learn what to do if you think your child has COVID-19 and when to go to the ER.