Boston Children's response to COVID-19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Children & Teens

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What are coronavirus, SARS CoV-2, and COVID-19?

The new coronavirus causes an illness called COVID-19.  This virus impacts people of all ages, however symptoms vary widely with each individual. Symptoms are also similar to those of other common illnesses.

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of three vaccines to prevent COVID-19: one for people 5 years of age and two others for people over age 18.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Doctors think coronaviruses spread from person to person through tiny drops of saliva or fluids from the mouth or nose. These drops are released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This is similar to the way the flu and other respiratory diseases spread. The spread of coronaviruses between people usually happens when they are in close contact with each other. Some viruses can spread easily and quickly while other viruses are harder to spread. We are still learning about this coronavirus and how it spreads.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 may have mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. At this time, the focus is on individuals with respiratory illness, particularly those with one or more of the key symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; or at least two of these symptoms:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • muscle or body aches
  • headache
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • congestion or runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea


If you’re worried whether you have symptoms of COVID-19, you can check them with Boston Children’s virtual symptom checker.

compare symptoms of covid 19

Why are there different variants of COVID-19?

Viruses constantly mutate and change. Some changes are irrelevant, while other changes make the virus weaker. However, some changes make the virus either easier to spread or potentially more disease causing. The CDC and other infectious disease specialists closely monitor the emergence of variants and will alert the public if a variant poses a significant risk to public health and can be easily transmitted from person to person.

What is COVID-19 Delta variant? Is the variant worse for kids?

Vaccinated people can get breakthrough infections of a variant and may be able to spread it; that has been seen with the Delta variant. Usually, though, breakthrough cases are either mild or asymptomatic.

Should your child keep wearing a mask? If the highly contagious Delta variant is any indication, the answer is yes.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

The treatment is supportive care, such as providing oxygen or breathing support if needed, and keeping patients hydrated.

What is long COVID?

Long COVID, also known as post-COVID syndrome, is the presence of one or more lingering symptoms that remain long after a child or teenager has recovered from COVID-19. Learn more about how we treat it in our Post-COVID Clinic.

What should I know about COVID-19 testing?

Science for Kids: Nasal Swab

COVID-19 Testing

Antibody Testing

Science for Kids: Nasal Swab

COVID-19 Testing

Antibody Testing



Where do I go to get my child tested for COVID 19 if they have symptoms?
What’s it like to get a nasal swab?
What is the cash price of a COVID-19 test?

Caring for COVID-19 at home

If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, and your child’s medical team has determined that your child is ready to go home from the hospital, this sheet describes important steps to take at home. Download the tipsheet.

COVID-19 prevention

Wash your hands often with soap and water, following CDC handwashing guidelines.
Cover nose and mouthCover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and immediately wash your hands.
Do not touch eyes, nose, and mouthDo not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice social distancingPractice social distancing.
covid vaccine illustrationIf available, get the vaccine

Does my child need to wear a mask?

The CDC recommends that everyone over age 5 wear a cloth face covering when they have to go out in public.

  • This cloth face covering is meant to protect other people, because you could spread COVID-19 to others even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Masks should cover your nose and mouth.
  • Children under age 2 and people who have trouble breathing shouldn’t wear cloth face masks.
  • It is not a substitute for social distancing.

How masks protect against COVID-19: Understanding the science

How do masks protect against COVID-19 spread? What is the best kind for my child? What about neck gaiters? Our own Dr. Thomas Sandora, hospital epidemiologist, explains how face masks can help keep you and your family safe.

Read more

What is social distancing and why is it important?
My child had a distant exposure to someone with COVID-19. What should I do?
How do I protect my child if someone in my home has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive?

Hunker down and reduce your 'transmission footprint'

As we head into the winter with COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, now is the time to hunker down and reduce your transmission footprint.

Reduce covid transmission footprint

Resources for parenting infants, children, and teens during the pandemic

Tips for parenting during coronavirus

Infants & toddlers

Read more
Talking to your kids about coronavirus

School-aged children

Read more
Preventing acne while wearing a mask

Teens & young adults

Read more

COVID-19 complications in children: What’s behind the recent alerts?

Unpacking the recent alerts about multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a rare post-COVID-19 complication.

Our team is working around the clock for families. Learn how to send our staff a message of encouragement and support.

Combat the deadliest health threats by donating to Boston Children's Hospital. Your donation helps find cures, vaccines, and breakthroughs, and brings hope to families during the toughest fight of their lives.

Ways to help


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Kevin B. Churchwell, President and CEO

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