Generally, COVID-19 symptoms are milder in children than in adults, and many infected children may not have any signs of being sick at all.
Coronavirus symptoms for children and adults include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- New fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Congestion or runny nose
Fever and cough are common COVID-19 symptoms in both adults and children. While shortness of breath is more likely to be seen in adults, children can have pneumonia, with or without obvious symptoms. They can also experience sore throat, excessive fatigue or diarrhea.
However, serious illness in children with COVID-19 is possible and parents should stay alert if their child is diagnosed with, or shows signs of, the disease.
Among U.S. states reporting coronavirus cases by age, 9.1% are children. An August 2020 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that about 8 children out of 100,000 require hospitalization for coronavirus infection, compared with about 165 of adults. But among those children, 1 in 3 required intensive care.