What Parents Need To Know Before Their Child's Covid Test

Does your child need a Covid test? Whether you're not sure if your child needs a coronavirus test or this is their first time testing, take a look at the top questions parents have about Covid-19 detection.

When Should A Child Have A Covid-19 Test?

There isn't one standard time to test. But there are a few common reasons to schedule a test for Covid. These include:

  • After exposure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends testing at least five days after exposure. If your child has Covid symptoms, they should test sooner.

  • If your child has symptoms. A stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, fever, shortness of breath, GI issues, or a cough are Covid symptoms. But these are also symptoms of other viral and bacterial infections. A Covid-19 test can confirm or rule out the virus.

  • Before a group gathering. More specifically, before a group gathering with high-risk friends, relatives, or other people. This type of preventative test for Covid can help to keep the people around your child safe.

If you're still not sure whether your child needs a test for Covid-19 or not, contact their pediatrician. The medical provider can review symptoms and help you to understand when your child will or won't need Covid testing.

How Should You Prepare Your Child For A Covid-19 Test?

Is this your child's first test? It's normal for a young child to feel nervous before a medical visit. If your child has questions or concerns, or you just want to eliminate anxiety before your child's testing time:

  • Explain a Covid test in easy-to-understand terms. There's no need to use clinical jargon such as PCR or antigen test with a very young child. Instead, use simple words that your child will understand.

  • Talk through the procedure. Explain the Covid-19 test procedure in steps. Start with going to the clinic or doctor's office and then move on to the nasal swab.

  • Use your own stories. By now it's likely that you've had at least one test for coronavirus. Share your own story to make your child feel more comfortable.

Covid symptoms may make your child tired or cranky. This can add to test-day stress. If your child has symptoms of the virus, make sure they have time to nap, aren't hungry, and take a lovey (such as a blanket or stuffed animal) to the appointment. Ask the clinic or their pediatrician if your child will need to wear a face mask or take other precautions before you arrive. 

For more information about Covid tests, contact a local doctor.