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Concerned about COVID-19?

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COVID-19 is an infection caused by a new virus in the coronavirus family called SARS CoV2. Children who catch this virus generally have a mild illness and many get no symptoms at all. However, occasionally they can be more severely affected. Symptoms include fever, cough, breathlessness, vomiting, diarrhoea, tiredness, headache, muscle aches and pains and a change in sense of smell or taste. Many other winter viruses cause similar symptoms in children.

Most children in Scotland no longer need a  test for COVID-19

  • It is not recommended that children and young people are tested for COVID-19 unless recommended by a Health Professional
  • Testing is available for patients at highest risk or to support clinical care (if you need to come into hospital for surgery or a procedure)
If your child is unwell and has a high fever they should stay at home. They can return to normal activities (including school and nursery) when their fever has settled and they feel well enough.

The Emergency Department of the Royal Hospital for Children is for children who are unwell enough to need our care. They need to be seen promptly and thoroughly; other services have been set up for children who have less severe illnesses.

Advice for parents/carers in Scotland of babies less than three months old during coronavirus

When should I get help?

For more information about the team and development & review processes behind our health advice click here.

If your child has any symptoms in the red box below, you need to get help urgently.

If your child has any symptoms in the amber box you should contact your GP surgery or NHS 111 as detailed below.



Content adapted with permission from the resource produced by the Healthier Together initiative


Does my child need a test?

Free testing for COVID-19 has now ended for most people in Scotland.

Advice for who can get a test is available on the Scottish Government website.

Can I protect my child from getting COVID-19?

Coronavirus is spread by droplet transmission from the mouth or nose of an infected person. This means your child needs to be in close contact with someone with the virus to catch it - within 1-2 metres of them.  However, the virus can survive for hours on hard surfaces (door handles, handrails etc).  Therefore, your child is more likely to get infected by picking up coronavirus on their hands and then touching their face, allowing the virus to enter via their mouth, nose or eyes.

This is why washing hands with soap and water is so important, especially during and after being in areas where other people are.
In addition, trying to stop your child touching their face (unless they have just washed their hands) will also reduce the risk of them getting infected





What if my child is in the ‘highest risk’ group for COVID-19?

During the first wave of the spread of COVID-19, we thought that some people, including children might be at high risk of severe infection and they were advised to be shielded. Now we know more about the infection, we have been able to reassure most families that their children are not at increased risk.

Previously, a small number of children were felt to need some extra protection. With most of the adult population vaccinated and reduced numbers of infection in the community the advice has changed. Children and young people on the highest risk list can now follow the same advice as the rest of the population. Parent Club have more information on Scottish schools and coronavirus

If you are concerned about your child’s condition affecting their ability to attend school or nursery more advice is available on NHS Inform or you can contact their clinician or specialist nurse for advice.

Please also see the information on Covid-19 vaccination.


Should my child wear a face covering?

Face coverings are no longer required in public spaces.

However, when attending hospital for appointments and for visiting we would ask that children aged 5 and over wear a face covering to help keep everyone safe.

*Face masks should NOT be used for babies and children under 3 years or those who may find it difficult to manage them properly .



I think my child has been in contact with someone with COVID-19

Most children will only get a mild illness from COVID-19. Use the traffic light table above to help you know what to do if your child is unwell.

How do I make sure I am following the right advice?

The situation is changing on a day to day basis. For up to date information about the current situation and guidance, including information on testing see NHS Inform.

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 22 September 2022

Next review: 22 September 2023

Reviewer Name(s): Dr Morag Wilson; Dr Geetika Kumar