The HSE have released some new information and guidelines in regards to Covid-19 testing protocols for children between the ages of three months to 13 years old.
Currently, your children are advised to be put forward for coronavirus tests, if any of the following points applies to them:
- Fever greater than or equal to 38.0 degrees Celsius
- A new cough, shortness of breath or deterioration in existing respiratory condition
- A loss or distortion of sense of smell or taste
- Minor respiratory symptoms in a child who has other ill contacts, is part of an outbreak or is a contact of a proven case
We are also being advised to maintain a higher level of suspicion or consider testing our child if they present with Covid-19 symptoms and fall into any of these categories:
- Children who are immunocompromised or medically vulnerable
- The child has other symptomatic contacts
- They have any acute illness requiring admission to hospital
It is also known that young children often have a persistent cold. Children with a blocked or runny nose but no fever can attend school or childcare but if they need paracetamol or ibuprofen for their symptoms they must not attend for 48 hours and testing may be indicated.
Diarrhoea, vomiting or abdominal pain are unlikely to be the sole symptoms of Covid-19. Consider testing where these symptoms occur in association with a fever but remain mindful of other cause, such as gastroenteritis or acute appendicitis.
Children with a chronic cough who are not systemically unwell do not usually require testing unless the cough deteriorates or they become unwell.
Here's what to expect if your child is sent for a Covid-19 test:
- The patient must stay at home and self-isolate pending test results.
- The whole family must restrict movements until the results of the test are known.
- If positive: The patient must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms, the last five days of which should be without fever.
- If negative: The patient must self-isolate until 48 hours after resolution of symptoms.
It's also worth noting that this advice is only for those aged between three months to 13 years, and if your child is below three months, the usual assessment protocols apply. If your child is older than 13 years of age, or if they attend secondary school, they will need to refer to adult testing guidance.