Children's Covid symptoms explained as expert says runny nose not it

The professor who runs the Covid Symptom Tracker app has said a runny nose is not a sign of Covid-19 in children – and probably means they just have a common cold.

Professor Tim Spector said there could be different symptoms according to different age brackets.

Adults are commonly told to look out for a fever, persistent dry cough and a loss of taste or smell.

But a fatigue, headache and fever appear to be the most common symptoms among children, according to Prof Spector.

Experts analysed symptoms from 198 children who tested positive for the disease out of 16,000 tested.

A third of the children showed no symptoms.

More than half (55%) of the children who tested positive had fatigue, 54% had a headache and almost half had a fever.

Over a third (38%) had a sore throat, 35% skipped meals while 15% had an unusual skin rash and 13% had diarrhoea, according to the newspaper.

Prof Spector said that of children who tested positive and had symptoms, around half did not have any of the three main signs listed by the NHS.

He told The Guardianr: “We need to start telling people what are the key symptoms at different ages rather than this blanket obsession with fever, cough and lack of smell.

“If you followed the Government’s advice you’d be missing half of the (symptomatic) infections.

“What we want to do here is not push (children) to have tests, but just keep them away from school (if they show symptoms).”

Researchers behind the app have previously argued that rashes should be considered as a fourth key sign of Covid-19.

“It is certainly as important as the other features, and in children it is much more important,” Prof Spector added.

“One in six children will have (a rash) and many times it will be the only sign, and you don’t get a funny rash with most coughs, colds (or) flus.”

Prof Spector told Radio 4: “What we are seeing is that if people are particularly worried at the moment about colds or Covid is that if they don’t have this combination of symptoms quite severely its highly unlikely that their symptoms are actually related.

“We have to realise that perhaps 98 per cent of all tests done at the moment are negative so many people are getting it wrong.

“We’ve also shown some negative signs in our app so that if you do have a runny nose or congestion or sneezing that’s really a sign that you absolutely do not have Covid.”



He added: “If you don’t have the headache, the fatigue, and you do have sniffles and a runny nose in a way regardless of what else you have got it’s still unlikely for you to have Covid and don’t try and overburden the system with trying to get a test.”

Speaking to the BBC last month he said: “We did also pick up skin rashes as quite a common feature in children and they can be as young as babies as well.

“And these rashes can come before any other symptoms, or they can come after other symptoms and that’s increasingly a sign in kids that can’t tell their parents what’s going on.”

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