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COVID-19 virus acts differently in children: These are the most common symptoms in kids

Many children who tested positive for COVID-19 showed no symptoms.

The difference in COVID-19 symptoms between children and adults was probably because of the differences in the way the immune system responded to the virus.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and many other health organizations list fever, tiredness and dry cough as the most common symptoms of COVID-19. However, children who are infected with the novel coronavirus may not show similar symptoms like adult patients. Because the disease presents differently in children compared with adults, according to a new study.

A UK research team including researchers from King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals as well as the health data science company ZOE has come up with new data showing the key symptoms at different ages. According to their findings, the most common symptoms of coronavirus in children are fatigue, headache and fever, with few developing a cough or losing their sense of taste or smell. This new data adds to calls for age-specific symptom checklists.

Some children showed no symptoms

For the study, the team examined the reports of symptoms among 198 children who tested positive for COVID-19. A third of these children showed no symptoms adding weight to other work showing many COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic. Children who were symptomatic did show a different set of symptoms than adults, the team said.

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While 55% of the COVID-positive children with symptoms had fatigue, 54% had a headache and almost half had a fever. Sore throats, loss of appetite, unusual skin rash, and diarrhea were also reported in children with symptoms.

On the contrary, the team found fatigue, headache, a persistent cough, sore throat and loss of smell as the most common symptoms in adults.

The researchers noted that around a half of the children who tested positive and had symptoms didn't have any of the three main signs listed by the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) i.e. high temperature, continuous cough, and loss or change in the sense of smell or taste.

If this government's advice is followed, half of the symptomatic infections would be missed, the researchers said. They urged teachers and parents to be aware of the fact that the virus can act differently in children and adults and keep those who show symptoms away from school.

How to tell colds and COVID-19 apart

The researchers also noted that some of the COVID-19 symptoms in children may overlap with those for colds, and it could be a problem as the winter approaches. So, how can you tell the difference between cold and COVID-19?

According to UK researchers, Children with COVID-19 may show unusual symptoms such as skin rashes. The team had previously suggested adding rashes to the official list of COVID-19 symptoms, noting that they also appear in adult patients.

One in six children with COVID-19 will have a rash and many times it will be the only sign, but this is not seen in most cough, cold or flu, they said.

The difference in symptoms between children and adults was probably because of the differences in the way the immune system responded to the virus.

The team is now calling for parents to track their children's symptoms on their COVID symptom study app to help them spot school outbreaks quickly.

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