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.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of three vaccines to prevent COVID-19: one for people 12 years of age and two others for people over age 18. Boston Children’s Hospital expects to receive limited amounts of COVID-19 vaccine from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Per state guidance, health care workers will be the first group to receive the vaccine. Careful planning is ongoing to ensure staff receiving the vaccine are prioritized in accordance with state guidelines.

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

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



COVID-19 tests: What families should know

As schools and businesses work to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, testing for COVID-19 is more important than ever. While the tests have one goal — to detect whether someone is or has been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 — they work in different ways. Dr. Alexander McAdam, director of our Infectious Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, shares what families should know.

Read more 

Massachusetts pediatric testing sites for COVID-19

Massachusetts pediatric testing sites for COVID-19

How to use this map: Search by address, town, or zip code. Red markers indicate individual testing sites. Blue numbers indicate more than one testing site in the area. Click on a testing site for the address and hours of operation. Some also provide type of test available and age range. For a list of testing sites, choose the list view.

Download a list of testing sites

Download the testing tipsheet

Where do I go to get my child tested for COVID 19 if they have symptoms?
What’s it like to get a throat swab?
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

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.

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.

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