Pediatric COVID-19 FAQs


Our entire team at Central Ohio Primary Care work hard every day to bring kids and their families the support, care, and compassion they deserve. We understand the strain that COVID has placed on all of us. We also know how important keeping your children safe during the COVID pandemic is to parents. Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions regarding COVID. We hope this gives you some quick, reliable guidance to help you safely navigate the pandemic.

What are COVID-19 symptoms in children?

COVID in children, like most respiratory viruses, can present with a range of symptoms including fever, body aches, sore throat, cough, congestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue as well as unique symptoms like loss of smell or taste. It is important to know that not every person shows the same combination or severity of symptoms. If your child experiences these symptoms, it is reasonable to test for COVID.

My child was exposed to someone with COVID. Should I have them tested?

Home quarantine (for 10 days following exposure) is recommended for any unvaccinated person who has been exposed to COVID. It is generally NOT recommended to test people who are without symptoms. Testing supplies, laboratory capacity and office staff are all in short supply. We can’t test everyone, so we need to use our resources wisely. If you develop symptoms while in home quarantine, then testing is advised.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine applies to people that are a “close contact” to a person with COVID. Vaccination status and masking affects what quarantine looks like, but the length of time is typically 10 days from exposure. Unvaccinated people will need to quarantine at home. Vaccinated people do not need to quarantine at home but should wear masks when indoors. Isolation applies to a person who tests positive with COVID. They should remain in their home, away from other household members for 10 days from the start of symptoms.

What about sports?

Whether you are in quarantine or isolation, you should not be participating in sports. People that test positive (and are in isolation) should rest during this time. Once 10 days have passed and you are feeling better, you can begin to return to your sport. For children age 12 and older, this will be done slowly over 7 days. Your child's pediatrician will help guide you through the return to play process and may need to see you for clearance.

I need a test. Do I need to see a doctor?

Short answer, NO. There are many options for scheduling drive-thru testing via local hospital systems and pharmacies. has an interactive map that aids in locating tests. There are also home test kits that can be received for free from schools and libraries or purchased online or at your local pharmacy. Please notify your child's pediatrician of positive results.

I performed a home test, and it was NEGATIVE, what do I do next?

If you are symptomatic, you should still stay home to avoid spreading your germs to other people. If in a day or so you are feeling back to normal, it is reasonable to return to your normal activities. If your symptoms persist for another 48 hours, then it is reasonable to perform a second home test or contact your child's pediatrician for more guidance.

My child is showing signs of COVID, what should I do?

This answer depends on many factors. We will try to simplify.

  1. If your child has mild symptoms, does not attend school or daycare, has no known COVID exposures, and no one else in the home is showing symptoms, it is reasonable to monitor symptoms while staying at home and call your child's pediatrician if symptoms worsen.
  2. If your child has mild symptoms and you have access to a home test, then perform the test and notify your child's pediatrician of positive results. If the home test is negative, it is reasonable to repeat the test 36-48 hours later to be sure of the results. This will give you the answer you need and help lessen the demands on the office and testing systems.
  3. If your child has more significant symptoms and you would like your child to be seen, reach out to their to determine the best approach. TeleHealth may be an option.
  4. If you do not have access to a home test or if you prefer a PCR or molecular test, contact your child's pediatrician for ways to schedule a test or visit.

What if my child has tested positive for COVID?

Regardless of vaccine status, anyone who tests positive for COVID needs to isolate in their home for 10 days following onset of symptoms. The person who is positive should stay in a separate room, eat their meals alone and use a separate bathroom as much as possible. If contact with household members is unavoidable, everyone over the age of 2 should be masked, even in your own home. This will lessen the chances of others in your household contracting the disease. Unvaccinated household members need to quarantine for 10 days AFTER their last exposure to the positive household member. Most infections in children will be mild. You should seek immediate attention if your child develops respiratory difficulties including shortness of breath and labored breathing. You should also contact your child's pediatrician with fever for more than 72 hours, any concerns of dehydration, or any worsening symptoms.

Does the entire family have to quarantine while one household member awaits test results?

YES. Even if only one household member has symptoms and is awaiting test results, any unvaccinated household contact must quarantine at home until the test results are known.

With all the news about variant strains, should I be doing anything differently?

First, if you are eligible, get a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are safe and are the best way to prevent severe disease and hospitalization. Vaccines are available for people age 12 and up. COPC has vaccine available and can be scheduled online at or through your child's pediatrician. For children under the age of 12, we do not recommend attempting to get the vaccine until it is authorized for this age group.

Second, get your flu vaccine. There are no time restrictions between getting a flu and a COVID vaccine.

Lastly, don’t let your guard down. Wear a mask when indoors or in crowds, wash your hands often, physically distance from others and stay home when you are not feeling well.

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