Coronavirus treatment depends on the severity of the illness. Most children who have COVID-19 tend to have mild symptoms that can be managed at home. If your child tests positive for COVID-19 you should inform their doctor.
Treating kids with mild symptoms of COVID-19
If you or your child tests positive for COVID-19, treatment is focused on relieving symptoms. This includes:
- Getting lots of rest
- Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for any fever or achiness
- For children over 4, managing any cough or runny nose with cold medication
- Staying hydrated by drinking lots of clear fluids, like water
Call your child’s doctor if they experience any shortness of breath, seem to be getting worse or are not getting better within a few days.
Be sure to follow the CDC’s guidance for isolation and precautions.
Treating children who are at higher risk due to underlying medical conditions
Fortunately, we have new outpatient treatment options to help prevent more severe cases of COVID-19, particularly for patients who are at greater risk of getting severely sick with COVID. These include:
- Paxlovid, a newer antiviral pill
- Remdesivir, an antiviral available to patients of certain ages and weights
If your child has an underlying medical condition and they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive, contact their pediatrician. The earlier you seek treatment after first noticing symptoms, the better.
Treating kids with more severe cases of COVID-19
Some children will develop more concerning cases of COVID-19, though this is relatively rare. Current science shows that approximately 1% to 2% of children who have COVID-19 will require hospitalization. Of those cases, about 1% of hospitalized kids will need critical care in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Treatment is available for kids and teens who have more serious cases of COVID-19. Treatment options include:
- Dexamethasone (a drug called a corticosteroid that can help decrease inflammation or swelling in the body)
- Remdesivir (an antiviral)
Though pediatric studies on these treatments are not yet available, dexamethasone and remdesivir have helped adults with COVID-19.