Caring for Children at Home With COVID-19
If your child tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) and your child’s medical team has determined that your child is ready to go home from the hospital, this information describes important steps that you should follow once you are home.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Monitor your child’s symptoms, including:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath or breathing problems
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- If these symptoms get worse, call your child’s pediatrician.
- If there is an emergency, call 911 or your local emergency services number.
- Let your child’s primary health care provider know your child has been discharged from Lurie Children's, and has tested positive for COVID-19.
Call if your child:
- Has a fever higher than 100.4/ 38.0˚C
- Won't drink
- Has ear pain or fluid coming out of the ear
- Has a runny or stuffy nose for 2 weeks or longer
- Has a bad cough or chest pain
- Has a persistent headache
- Has diarrhea
- Is getting sicker
Go to the Emergency Room if your child:
- Appears dehydrated -- signs include dizziness, drowsiness, a dry or sticky mouth, sunken eyes, crying with few or no tears, or peeing less often (or having fewer wet diapers)
- Is unable to drink or talk
- Has trouble breathing, is breathing fast, or looks blue around the lips
- Have your child rest, eat healthy food and drink plenty of water.
- Use fever-reducing medications as needed if your child has a fever – be sure to follow the instructions from your pediatrician, or as listed on the medication label.
- Take your child’s temperature by mouth with a digital thermometer at least twice a day, every 4 hours after giving medicine. Call your pediatrician if it’s over 100.4˚F/38˚F.
Stay at home and away from others until isolation is no longer needed:
- Self-isolate: Your child should stay home and away from others to lower the chance of spreading the illness. All household members should also stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after your child meets the criteria for stopping home isolation.
- Keep your child in 1 room of the house: Your child should stay in 1 room or be at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people and pets.
- Use a delivery or pick-up service for groceries, or ask friends or family members to drop off groceries and supplies. Have them leave them outside to avoid direct contact.
- Avoid visitors and public places: We do not recommend going to activities or gatherings outside your home, like school, church/mosques, grocery stores or restaurants. We do not recommend playdates or visitors.
- If caregivers must come into your home for your child’s care, let them know that your child has COVID-19. Caregivers should wear personal protective equipment, like gloves, eye protection and face masks.
Wear personal protective equipment and practice good hygiene:
- Choose 1 healthy family member to care for your child. We know that isn’t always possible.
- Have your child wear a facemask or cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are around people, including you. If they can’t wear a facemask, you should wear one while in the same room with them.
- Everyone in the house should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after contact with your child. Natural soap is OK to use. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has 60-95% alcohol to clean your hands if soap and water aren’t available. You should wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
- Everyone in the house should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth unless they have just cleaned their hands.
In general, most people with COVID-19 can leave home when these 3 things have happened:
- They have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers
- Other symptoms have improved, such as cough or shortness of breath
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
- If possible, have your child use a separate bathroom from other members of your household.
- The bathroom should be cleaned frequently and the toilet lid closed when flushing to prevent the spread of germs.
- Clean commonly touched objects including door handles, toilets and faucets, and electronic devices (phones, computers).
- Use a regular household cleaner or make your own disinfectant by mixing 1part bleach to 9 parts water.
- When cleaning, wear a facemask or covering and disposable gloves if possible.
- After cleaning:
- Remove gloves and throw away.
- Wash your hands right away with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Remove facemask and throw it away.
- Wash your hands again with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Do not share household items with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. All used household items, such as bedding and towels, should be cleaned thoroughly after use. Sick people should use their own tube of toothpaste and soap.
- Open windows and doors, as weather allows, to keep air moving through your home.
- If your child is an infant and you are breastfeeding, you can still breastfeed your baby.
- Be sure to wash your hands and your chest area thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after you touch
For More Information
If you are a Lurie Children's patient or family member and have general questions about COVID-19, please call our COVID-19 hotline at 312.227.5300.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone
- CDC: COVID-19 and Breastfeeding
- KidsHealth: Understanding Coronavirus
- ZerotoThree: Answering Your Young Child’s Questions About Coronavirus