(WHTM) — Who would’ve thought a runny nose could be so disruptive? If you have school-age kids, you know this all too well.
It’s currently recommended children with COVID-19 symptoms, which can be similar to those of the common cold, stay home from school.
“The recommendations are any kid who’s having a new onset of fever, runny nose, cough, congestion, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, that they get evaluated by their health care provider,” Cleveland Clinic Children’s Pediatrician Dr. Adam Keating said.
Dr. Keating understands how frustrating these guidelines can be for families. However, he reminds us how quickly COVID-19 can spread to others and says it’s important to err on the side of caution when evaluating whether to send a child to school.
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If your child has symptoms and you’d like to rule out COVID-19 rather than wait for the symptoms to resolve, Dr. Keating says to skip the rapid at-home tests and ask your medical provider to order a PCR test, which is processed by a lab and considered to be the most accurate.
“If they have a little bit of a runny nose and a PCR-based COVID test came back negative, then I think we can say that it was negative and this isn’t COVID. So, if they’re feeling well enough, then those kids can go back to school. I would recommend that they wear a mask so they don’t spread the cold around the school as well,” Dr. Keating said.
Dr. Keating says most kids with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms but there are rare cases that can become severe.
If your child is having trouble breathing or shortness of breath, they should be seen by a medical provider immediately.