KIDS have returned to school after the Christmas break, and many parents are finding they are catching bugs.
If your child comes home with a sniffle, complains of a headache or seems under the weather – it's likely it could be Covid.
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UK cases have crept up slightly, after falling dramatically from record highs over the past few weeks.
This appears to be in line with schools going back and children spreading the bug.
The variant has been proven to be milder, especially in the vaccinated, but can be passed on quickly – so classrooms can be hit fast.
This is why it's important to keep an eye out for symptoms in kids that could indicate Covid, and keep testing to be sure.
Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE Covid Study app, comments on the latest data: “The ZOE data is already showing an uptick in symptomatic cases in children due to the back to school effect.
"With cases still high and restrictions being lifted, we’ll just have to hope that people remain sensible, their households are triple vaccinated, and regardless of official advice, that everyone knows to isolate and self test when experiencing cold-like symptoms.”
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There are about 20 warning symptoms in adults that are popping up regularly, which are useful to know in children.
But in kids there are a few specific extras that are worth being aware of, in case they need to have a test.
Parents and doctors have reported children with runny noses, low grade fevers, croup, a cough and rashes.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “I follow up our most high-risk preterm babies.
“Most of them in my clinic have had Omicron in the last four weeks – or their families have – and none of them have come to any harm.
“In fact, most of the mothers are reporting a runny nose, a little bit off their feet and some low grade fever.
“We need to watch this space but, from around the country at the moment, the picture is a reassuring one.”
Symptoms of Omicron in children:
- Runny nose
- Croup – a 'barking' cough
- A more usual sounding cough
Omicron is widely seen as fairly mild in comparison to Delta, generally producing a cold-like illness, with adults not seeing coughs as often.
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Prof Russell Viner, who works at Great Ormond Street and is a professor at University College London, said: “The average length of stay was really low and almost none of them needed oxygen or other help.
“Around half of them got no treatment at all – they were in hospital for observation.
“A number of them got antibiotics but only because of the way that we treat children with fevers, particularly babies, which is to be very cautious and protect them."
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