Covid-19: What to do now?
What do you do if your child, or a member of your family, has symptoms?
Children and young people aged 18 and under can get coronavirus (COVID-19), but it's usually a mild illness and most get better in a few days.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- shortness of breath
- feeling tired or exhausted
- an aching body
- a headache
- a sore throat
- a blocked or runny nose
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or being sick
The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.
What to do if your child has symptoms
Your child should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and they either:
- have a high temperature
- do not feel well enough to go to school, college or childcare, or do their normal activities
They can go back to school, college or childcare when they feel better or do not have a high temperature.
If your child has mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or mild cough, and they feel well enough, they can go to school, college or childcare.
Encourage your child to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and to wash their hands after using or throwing away tissues.
Most children who are unwell will recover in a few days with rest and plenty of fluids.
Vaccinations help to increase protection against COVID-19, which is particularly important for those with underlying health conditions. Being vaccinated minimises the need for children and young people to have time off from school or college, and helps them to continue to carry out their hobbies, attend social events and live their lives to the full.
We have published some frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the vaccination programme including information on eligibility, accessibility and advice for parents of children at high risk from COVID-19. Please share these FAQs with parents, particularly those with children who are clinically vulnerable.
Guidance on how to book appointments for children aged 12 years and over is available on the NHS website. Further information on the vaccination of high risk children aged 5 to 11 years old is available in the guide for parents of children aged 5 to 11 years published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Links to more information can also be found here: