MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With children back in school after more than a year of distance learning, there are a lot of viruses going around. Experts say the best way to know whether or not your child’s cold-like symptoms are COVID is to test for it.
But when testing at the sign of every sniffle isn’t an option, what should you look for?
Katie’s 21-month-old son Emmett, who is in daycare, has taken his share of COVID-19 tests. In September, Emmett came down with cold symptoms that also included a heavy wet cough and fever. Katie found out he had a possible exposure, and a PCR test confirmed he was COVID-positive.
“At least weekly, he’s got something — a sniffle, runny nose, or a cough,” Katie said. “This last time, his symptoms just seemed a little bit different.”
Dr. Frank Rhame says it’s a good idea to call your child’s school or childcare center to see if there have been outbreaks of any one type of virus. Also, evaluate if your child is going to be around any unvaccinated, high risk individuals.
“The best possible circumstances to not test (are) runny nose alone, no outbreak of COVID in your school, no fever. But if you wander from that — like cough or fever or shortness of breath — for sure I would want to check into,” Rhame said.
Most children will have mild symptoms from COVID, but 500 children have died so far in the U.S. from the virus. IF you suspect your child may have COVID, Rhame says a call to the doctor and getting a test is always the best option.
The website Minnesota Vaccine Hunters now has tips and resources on how to find over-the-counter rapid tests. The group says CVS restocks overnight and some mornings. Still, experts say a PCR test will be more sensitive.
Tests are available through many schools that opted into the state’s free testing program for students. Click here for a list of testing locations.
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