Parents coronavirus FAQs
Here you will find information and links to resources to keep your children safe during coronavirus
With special thanks to our Practice Champion Hanan Ghouneim for all your time and input into the FAQs.
Updated 24 June 2021
What should make me concerned that my child is unwell?
If you are not sure if your child is unwell and whether they need to be seen by someone, you can use the red / amber / green criteria to help you decide: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/advice-parents-young-people-during-coronavirus-posters
If any points in the amber or red categories apply to your child, follow the advice about where to go for help
If you are worried about your child get advice from your GP or NHS 111
What should I do if my child has symptoms of coronavirus?
If your child has COVID-19 symptoms they should get a test, your child and everyone you live with will need to stay at home and self-isolate until you get their test results
What are the symptoms of the common cold compared to coronavirus?
A cold is a viral infection of the upper airways. Cold symptoms can make you feel unwell but usually you can carry on as normal. Symptoms can include:
- a blocked or runny nose
- a sore throat
- muscle aches
- a raised temperature
- pressure in your ears and face
- loss of taste and smell
Some of the symptoms of a cold may be similar to coronavirus and there is no way to tell the difference without a test, therefore if your child has any one of the main symptoms of coronavirus they should stay home and get a test:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
My child has a cough, how do I know if it is ‘continuous’?
A continuous cough is coughing A LOT for example, coughing for more than an hour for most of that hour, or three of more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough it may be worse than usual
One of my children has coronavirus symptoms, do their siblings need to stay off school?
Don’t send your children to school if they or anyone in the house has symptoms of COVID-19.
A test should be ordered for the person with symptoms.
If the test is positive they must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when symptoms started (and when fever has gone and they are feeling better) with the rest of the household finishing a 10 day self-isolation period.
If a child becomes symptomatic at school they will be sent home to self-isolate.
Advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
What if I keep my child off school for a day and they feel better the next day?
If you keep your child off school due to concern they could have coronavirus please arrange for them to get a test
If my child’s temperature goes down after they’ve had some Calpol or paracetamol should I still get a test?
Calpol contains paracetamol which can help reduce your child’s temperature, making them feel more comfortable. It should always be used as per the instructions. If their temperature goes down after taking it, your child will still need a coronavirus test.
You can use this fever advice sheet: https://what0-18.nhs.uk/application/files/1215/0764/6611/CS43233_NHS_Fever_Advice_Sheet_UNDER_5_yrs_AMENDED_15_AUG_17.pdf
How do I get a coronavirus test for my child?
Testing is available for all ages (including under 5’s). It is a swab test that swabs the throat and nose and can tell if you have coronovirus now. This test is available to everyone if you develop symptoms.
Tests can be obtained by calling 119 or online via the NHS portal
- 1119 is the new COVID-19 number for NHS Test and Trace in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you are in Scotland call 0300 303 2713
- 111 is still the number for all other non-emergencies
You can check your symptoms at NHS 111 online coronavirus service
What should I do if my child has a cough or temperature?
How to look after your child's cough or temperature and when to get help:
Can I give my child ibuprofen to help with coronavirus symptoms?
Parents can give either paracetamol or ibuprofen, if needed, to treat symptoms of fever or pain unless your doctor has told you paracetamol or ibuprofen is not suitable for your child: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/anti-inflammatory-medicines-covid-19-advice-parents-carers
What about health issues that aren’t coronavirus related, where can I go?
Children and babies get illnesses that can make them very unwell quickly. It's important to get medical help when you need it.
The Royal College of Paediatrics has made these really useful posters with advice for parents on what help to get, when: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/advice-parents-young-people-during-coronavirus-posters. The posters include information on how and when to seek mental health advice for children and young people
My child has asthma, does that put them at more risk of coronavirus?
During the first peak in Covid-19 there was not an increase in asthmatic patients being admitted to hospital. However, you may be at higher risk of severe COVID19 if your asthma is not well controlled (e.g. on oral steroids).
It is important that you wash your hands regularly and follow social distancing rules.
Is it safe to wear a face mask if you have asthma?
Most people with asthma, including severe asthma, can wear a mask. Wearing a mask does not reduce your oxygen supply. Asthma UK has some helpful advice: https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/coronavirus-covid-19/what-should-people-with-asthma-do-now/should-i-wear-a-face-mask-or-face-covering/
My child has missed their routine vaccinations what should I do?
GP surgeries are safe for babies and children to have their vaccinations. It is extremely important that your child has their routine vaccinations. Contact your GP if you know your child is due or has missed their routine vaccination https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/booking-your-childs-vaccination-appointment/
Starting and completing your child’s vaccinations on time will help to protect them from a range of serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. If your child is clinically vulnerable speak to your GP first
How can I get a dentist appointment?
Routine dental treatments are available again. Call your dentist to book an appointment.
If you need urgent dental treatment you can:
• Visit https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/dental-health/how-can-i-access-an-nhs-dentist-in-an-emergency-or-out-of-hours/
• Call your dentist
• Use the NHS 111 online service if you cannot contact your dentist or you do not have one
I am worried about my child’s mental health?
These Royal College of Child Health posters contain information on how to access mental health support for children: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/advice-parents-young-people-during-coronavirus-posters
Young people can get advice and support to help them keep mentally healthy here: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/
Good Thinking provides mental health and wellbeing advice for parents in London. They also have specific resources for autism, eating disorders and ADHD: https://www.good-thinking.uk/coronavirus/advice-for/
What should I do if my child has anxiety or if I’m feeling anxious?
Tips on how to talk to your children about coronavirus and what to do if you or they are feeling anxious: https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/blog/how-to-talk-to-children-about-covid-19/
Kooth is an online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for children and young people. Young people can chat online to professionally accredited counsellors or write and read blogs from other young people.
What help can I get to support lost income?
Information on the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme and other support: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/coronavirus-if-your-employer-has-told-you-not-to-work/. See more information from your local borough below.
Local resources: what help can I get?
Healthwatch Central West London have a new page with information on health, social care, mental health, food banks, housing and different health conditions: https://healthwatchcwl.co.uk/coronavirus/
Kensington and Chelsea:
- Get the latest information on our response to Coronavirus, Council Service updates and support for residents and local businesses: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19
- Up to date list of local food banks and other hot meal services https://www.kcsc.org.uk/food-banks-rbkc
- Coronavirus updates from the Family Information Service with useful links for families: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/kb5/rbkc/fis/advice.page?id=GxIC2w4vhMo
- Support and contact details if you need help or are worried about someone else: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-vulnerable-residents
- Westminster Family Information Service is updating a page of resources and information for families and those working with children and young people during coronavirus https://fisd.westminster.gov.uk/kb5/westminster/fis/advice.page?id=mBrQCJ5qMB4
- Food banks: Westminster Chapel is running a food parcel Collection Service for clients with pre-booked appointments https://www.westminsterchapel.org.uk/ministries/foodbank/
- Get a referral for North Paddington Food bank then they will arrange collection or delivery: https://www.npfoodbank.org.uk/
Hammersmith and Fulham:
- If you need urgent help or you are struggling with loneliness, or if you are worried about a friend, neighbour or relative: https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/hf-community-aid-network-can-freephone-0800-145-6095
- Help for Hammersmith and Fulham residents with advice about benefits, employment and financial support: https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/help-residents-facing-hardship-or-difficulties
- Food banks: New White City venue and more information: https://hammersmithfulham.foodbank.org.uk/2020/03/24/we-are-open-and-change-to-white-city-venue/
About this page
- Last updated
- Author Phoebe Rutherford