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Cold or Coronavirus symptoms in children – what’s the difference? Posted on 28 Sep 2020

As winter approaches, common colds will be more widespread, and children may become unwell as it tends to circulate in schools and nurseries. This year, with the potential circulation of Coronavirus (COVID-19), local healthcare professionals in Coventry and Warwickshire want to alert parents and carers to the difference in symptoms between the common cold and COVID-19.

A runny or blocked nose, sneezing or feeling unwell (but don’t have a temperature, cough or loss or change in sense of taste or smell) are all symptoms of a common cold and can be treated by over the counter medicines. If a child has these symptoms, parents and carers can seek advice from a pharmacy, NHS 111 or their GP, which are all open and available.

The following symptoms are ones which could indicate if a child has COVID-19:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change in sense of taste or smell

The Department for Education has released two useful animations to highlight the differences between the common cold and COVID-19, and what to do if a child develops symptoms.

Dr David Spraggett, GP and Chair at NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Children can get coronavirus, but they seem to get it less often than adults and it’s usually less serious. However, if your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19 it is important that they get a test and stay at home until they receive the result. Anybody living in the same household or support bubble must also self-isolate until you get the result.”

“Please only book a test for your child if they develop COVID-19 symptoms. This will help make sure people who need a test can get one.”

Dr Sarah Raistrick, GP and Chair at NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG said: “We want to reassure parents and families that you local GP practice is here for you and we are open. If you have any concerns about your child’s health, please call your GP practice. We will be able to provide advice over the telephone and if necessary, we will book an appointment to see your child.

“I must ask though, please do not just turn up at your practice, you need to phone us first and we will support you and your family.”

Parents and carers can book a COVID-19 test for their child online via the Government’s website or by calling 119.

To find out more information about COVID-19 in children and to know when to get a test, visit:

© NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group
Second Floor, Heron House, Newdegate Street, Nuneaton CV11 4EL