After years of missing out on school field trips and group activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is excited about returning to regular pre-pandemic social affairs. For many kids, this means returning to summer camp.

Unfortunately, there is risk involved anytime a group of people gets together. So, if your child comes home from summer camp with a positive COVID-19 test, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

Luckily, the COVID-19 virus has caused a milder illness in kids than adults. However, some children can still get quite sick.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea1

How to handle a child with COVID-19

Depending on the severity of your child’s symptoms, there are several things you can do to care for your child and try to prevent the spread of the virus.

Monitor their symptoms

Watch your child to see if their symptoms get worse. Call your health provider immediately if they start to develop a high fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater), a worsening cough, or shortness of breath.2

Wash your hands

Anytime you have contact with your child, wash your hands using soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Also, make sure you are washing your child’s hands often. Avoid touching your face, and encourage your child to do the same.

Stop the spread

While your child is sick, keep them at home to try and stop the spread of COVID-19. You should wear well-fitting medical masks when in the same room as your child.

If possible, have your child use a separate bathroom. If this isn’t possible, try to clean and disinfect the space after your child uses the bathroom.

Stop sharing

Avoid sharing items like cups, utensils, bed sheets, or towels with your child to prevent the spread of the virus.

Seek medical attention

If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, seek emergency medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pressure or chest pain
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nails1

Get vaccinated

Visit your doctor or go to urgent care to get vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to protect your child and yourself from the virus. The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is available to children six months or older.3


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of COVID-19. Accessed February 17, 2023.
  2. CDC. What to do if you were exposed to COVID-19. Accessed February 17, 2023.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Management strategies in children and adolescents with mild to moderate COVID-19. Accessed February 17, 2023.

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