COVID-19 and Children

The well-being and safety of our pediatric patients is our top priority. Information related to COVID-19 is constantly changing. Please continue to check this site for the latest updates and information.

Anytime you have concerns about your child’s health, please contact your child’s primary care clinic by phone or MyChart; or a schedule a Care Anywhere visit to speak with a healthcare provider. If your child has been exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19 and shows any of the symptoms listed below, you should call your child’s provider immediately.

Contact Information

UW Health COVID-19 Information Line

For facts about COVID-19, call (608) 720-5300

MyChart

Send a message to your clinic using MyChart. Log in to your UW Health MyChart account

COVID-19 Symptoms

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, with the average being 5 days.

  • Fever (100◦F or higher)
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath/chest tightness (for those under 12 – increased work of breathing)
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Severe fatigue/exhaustion
  • Muscle pain

For children under 12, symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor feeding/appetite
  • Plus at least one respiratory symptom

If your child experiences symptoms, UW Health advises:

If your child is in a high-risk group, contact their primary care provider immediately by either calling their clinic or sending a MyChart message. You can also do a Care Anywhere urgent care video visit. Do not go to the clinic, urgent care or emergency department without calling first.

If your child is experiencing emergency warning signs, which include difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or difficulty waking up or bluish lips or face, call 911 and be sure to tell the 911 operator that you suspect a COVID-19 infection.

Please remember, when your child is experiencing symptoms:

  • Even if your child is not in a high-risk group, but is feeling ill and uncomfortable, call or send a MyChart message to their primary care clinic.
  • Keep your child at home and limit contact with others. Children who are mildly ill are able to isolate at home. Stay at home until you are instructed to leave to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. (Learn about self-isolation)
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizing gel
  • Teach your child to cover their cough with their elbow and sneeze into a tissue
  • Avoid public areas
  • Avoid public transportation
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in your home (cellphones, for example)
  • Do not travel while sick
  • Do not share personal items, like dishes, towels or bedding
  • Seek medical attention if the child is feeling worse, but before you go to a doctor or clinic, call first
  • Children over age two should wear a facemask before they enter a shared space
  • Practice self-care

In general, healthy children seem to have milder symptoms and recover quicker from COVID-19. But they could be experiencing anxiety because of our national emergency or fears for the safety of their loved ones. Remember that kids need reassurance. Being out of school and the change in their patterns of being able to directly interact with their peers are going to affect their psyche. Talk to them about their feelings. Online hangouts and other ways of staying in touch with friends remotely may help.

Maintaining Your Child’s Well Being

It is important to maintain your child’s routine healthcare visits. All UW Health clinics are screening patients, staff and visitors at the entrance to minimize the chance of anyone with COVID-19 symptoms from possibly spreading the virus.

Patients, visitors and staff are required to wear face coverings in our facilities. We have signage and tape markings in the clinics to ensure proper physical distancing. Visitation restrictions help limit the number of people in our facilities, which supports physical distancing and limits opportunities for spread of the virus. And we have managed our supply of personal protective equipment to ensure that patients and their providers have everything they need to be safe.

If you do not feel safe coming into the clinic, we offer urgent care video visits through Care Anywhere and communication through MyChart. Please contact your clinic with any questions.

Vaccines

Because vaccine-preventable diseases are still a major threat to children, it is important that children of all ages receive their vaccinations as needed. UW Health is taking every precaution to deliver these vaccines safely by practicing physical distancing in our waiting areas, screening patients and staff for COVID-19 symptoms, taking temperatures with a no-touch thermometer and required both patients and staff to wear face coverings in our facilities. If you do not have a face covering, we will provide one to you. Watch this video

Hospital Visits

Visitors: Up to two support persons may visit, but not siblings. View our guidelines

Learn how we’re keeping you safe at American Family Children’s Hospital

Emergency Care

To ensure the highest level of safety, we have new processes to keep patients with infectious symptoms away from others. We have extra cleaning processes and improved airflow, along with appropriate PPE for patients and staff.

Children should be brought to the Emergency Department for issues such as broken bones, cuts, rapid/difficulty breathing, fussiness, vomiting, feelings of self-harm or other emergency situations. UW Health is proud to have doctors and nurses on staff who are specially trained to care for children in an emergency setting, as well as Child Life specialists who are specially trained to reduce a child’s anxiety in a medical situation.

Preventing COVID-19

Protect your children in the same ways you protect yourself:

  • Frequent handwashing
  • Avoiding sick people
  • Maintaining a 6-foot distance for other people. Children playing outside their own homes should remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household.
  • Wearing a cloth face mask (children 2 years and older)
  • Clean high touch surfaces daily
  • Frequently launder items such as plush toys and other washable security items (blankets, etc)
  • Limit time with other people who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If someone in this category will be caring for your child, limit your child’s contact with other people.

Issues for Children and Parents

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)

While both adults and children can get COVID-19, healthy children seem to be less affected, have milder symptoms and recover quicker. While this continues to be true, there has been a recent increase in young patients with exposure to COVID-19 who later develop a unique set of symptoms. This prompted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to issue a health alert.

This condition, while extremely rare, causes body parts to become inflamed and blood vessels to enlarge.  It is being referred to as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Read more

Newborn Babies and COVID-19

To date, no babies born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the virus at birth. For more information on pregnant women, newborns and breastfeeding, visit the CDC Frequently Asked Questions on pregnancy and more.

COVID Toes

Patients of all ages are experiencing purple to red tender, sometimes painful bumps on the tips of the toes. Most patients have no other signs of infection. UW Health wants to study patients who are experiencing this Watch this video

Returning to Daycare/Childcare

Childcare programs should have a plan in place to protect children, staff and families. Plans should include ways they will prevent infection every day (handwashing, masks, etc), social distancing strategies, cleaning/disinfection rules, safe drop off/pick up procedures, screening procedures, requirements that sick children and staff stay home, plans for if someone is or becomes sick and plans to maintain a safe staff to children ratio. Visit the CDC Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open.

Visit the Wisconsin Department of Health for daycare considerations for families.

Participating in Organized Sports

As of June 3, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends youth sports organizations consult with state and local health officials before resuming participation due to the many challenges of containing the virus in group settings. Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends youth sporting events for the summer be postponed or cancelled, unless the sport or activity can be performed fully while complying with social distancing measures. American Family Children’s Hospital/UW Health and Children’s Wisconsin support following DHS and CDC guidance to safely protect kids and our community from the spread and unknown risks of COVID-19. Learn more about understanding and interpreting the CDC guidelines for youth sports (pdf) and watch this video to help you talk with your child.

Managing Stress

Many people are feeling significant isolation, anxiety and depression. Depression can create other issues that make it difficult for people to function and take care of themselves. Isolation can be very hard on caregivers, too. If you are feeling you need help, reach out to your primary care physician or behavioral health specialist via phone, MyChart or Care Anywhere for a video visit. Review our mental health resource guide. Teens may benefit from this mindfulness for teens information.

View our COVID-19 FAQ section for important information for people of all ages.

Additional COVID-19 Resources