Alarm bells may be ringing in your head – Should you test your baby for COVID? This is because your baby may have some flu or cold-like symptoms. Or, your baby may have recently came into close contact with a positive COVID-19 case. You are wondering about pros and cons and stuck in a dilemma.
Fret not, as our blogging team has scoured through the web, done some pretty in-depth research, and spoken to medical experts, all to bring you the key reasons to test your baby for COVID-19.
7 Reasons Why You Should Test Your Baby for COVID-19
Actually, before we begin, it is useful to note that our article covers a broad scope. From newborns, to toddlers, and school-going children, we consider kids of all ages. Thus, it may be a little misnomer (or not) when we say “baby” here. But we do really mean – “your baby” / child.
Disclaimer: these reasons would largely apply to the general population of kids under 18 years old universally. Our team would try our best to bring together information and knowledge, but this article is not a substitute or official document for professional medical advice.
So, what are these seven reasons for testing the pediatric population, here in Singapore, and around the world?
1. Laws And Regulations Mandate COVID Testing
First, and needless to say, you should follow the laws and regulations of your country. Be up to date about the latest regulations, because they change quite fast in the face of today’s pandemic. If you are planning to travel overseas, or go for a huge scale or crowded event, it is certainly advisable, and usually legally required for you and your baby to undergo a COVID-19 test. Sometimes, if you or your baby has been a close contact of a positive case, authorities may also mandate compulsory COVID-19 testing for your baby.
Thus, even if you and your baby may be asymptomatic, or have not been a close contact to any positive cases, COVID testing may still be required.
At the time of writing, there are also laws that state that children below a certain age (eg. 2 years old) are exempted from testing for pre-event requirements. Again, do check with local authorities and the latest guidelines as to whether you should test your baby for COVID before actually going ahead for the test.
2. Professional Medical Advice For COVID Testing
Whether you are worried, or your baby has symptoms, or was a close contact of a COVID case, thinking of testing your baby for COVID is a good idea.
Usually, parents or guardians would quickly seek advice from a doctor or clinic. Nowadays, professional medical advice could also come from other platforms! For example, telemedicine providers are springing up enthusiastically around the island. There are even less mainstream (at point of writing) options like simply sending formal questions or texts to doctors online. Or, you could go through forums where they claim to be attended to by real practicing physicians.
Lastly, it could even be a close friend, or family member, who is a medical professional and helping you assess and advising you. At MEIDE Babysitting, we put good trust in our medical professionals. Thus, if it was professional medical advice to get your baby tested for COVID (for whatever reasons), we do encourage you to follow that advice!
3. Symptomatic and < 1 year old
If your baby is less than one year old, and having any symptoms of COVID-19, please send your baby for a test! This is because babies less than 1 year old do not have fully developed and matured immune systems. Thus, they are more susceptible to developing severe disease from COVID.
Look out for any upper respiratory tract symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, coughing, fever and decreased appetite. Also, if there are red flag symptoms such as breathlessness, drowsiness, lethargy, bluish skin tone, or prolonged fever, convey your baby to the emergency department!
In essence, any form of worrying symptoms, combined with your baby’s tender age of one year and below would warrant a COVID test first to allay worries. If positive, please seek immediate medical help. If negative, you may be relieved, but do continue to keep a close eye on him or her, and read on to find out if there are more reasons to do something.
4. Has Other Contributory Medical Illnesses
Now, if your baby has certain background medical conditions, always bear these in mind. Basically, your baby is not considered to be a “perfectly normal healthy being” in medical lingo. Any form of past medical history (or surgical history), may influence your baby body’s ability to handle infections.
For example, a background of asthma, particularly if poorly controlled, means your baby is much more susceptible to adverse consequences from COVID-19. Thus your baby should undergo COVID testing if he or she has any suspicious symptoms. Also, if your baby has had a close contact with a positive case, maintain a low threshold for COVID testing.
In summary, test your baby for COVID quickly too if you are worried of any close contact or symptoms, and your baby has contributory medical illnesses. Certain illnesses like cancers (eg. leukemia), blood disorders, and related treatment (eg. chemotherapy) lowers your baby’s immunity. In addition to swift testing, be sure to alert your medical provider about your concerns early too so you may get professional medical advice.
5. Has Signs or Symptoms That Are More Than Mild
Fifthly, you should test your baby for COVID if he or she has symptoms or signs that are beyond mild severity. Do NOT sit on it and simply hope that the symptoms would go away. If the symptoms or signs do not seem to be subsiding, take action quickly. Simply put, if the signs or symptoms affect the normal daily routine(s), you can consider them to be more than mild. Do NOT wait until symptoms turn severe.
To aid you further in understanding this reason, here is a list of symptoms and signs that are considered SEVERE / alarming:
- Fever (Temperature more than 37.5 degree Celsisus) for 3 days or more
- Lethargy or Drowsiness
- Reduced responsiveness
- Bluish Tone to Skin (ie. cyanosis)
- Complaints of chest, bone or joint pains
- Persistent Vomiting, Diarrhea or Abdominal Pains
- Persistent cough, sore throat or loss of taste or smell
- Headache that does not resolve with regular medications such as paracetamol
- Unexplained rashes or swellings
- Reddish eyes or tongue
- Note: This list is non-exhaustive and not a substitute for medical opinion!
In fact, if your baby presents with such symptoms, it is advisable to bring him or her to the emergency department right away. Thus, being on the lookout for such symptoms or signs is pertinent for parents. When you feel that your child is bordering on symptoms or signs beyond mild severity, quickly test him or her for COVID! Then, seek medical attention as appropriate.
6. Close Contact with Other People Who May Be Vulnerable
Next, you should test your baby for COVID if he or she has any symptoms or was in close contact with COVID patient(s), and is or planning to be in close contact with vulnerable persons. For example, if you are pregnant, you are considered more vulnerable to COVID complications. Also, the presence of younger babies, elderly, or immunocompromised individuals (eg. having cancer, HIV, or chemotherapy) around your baby means COVID testing is strongly advised.
In a way, this is a form of social responsibility. To fight this pandemic, we need to curb the spread of COVID. Otherwise, the virus can continue to pass around, mutate, and re-infect us too! Hence, if your baby attends infant class, childcare, or is being cared for by babysitter(s) or others, we do encourage you to test your baby for COVID if suspicious of it.
If tested positive, quick isolation can prevent the spread of COVID and chance of vulnerable persons getting it. You can also send your baby for medical attention simultaneously. If tested negative, you can be relieved, but do consider contact precautions too for added safety.
Protecting the vulnerable people around us and in the community during this pandemic is really critical. We all play a part in it.
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7. Doubt and Worry Are Valid Reasons Too
Finally, even if your baby does not fall under any category above, you should still test your baby for COVID, if you remain doubtful or worried. Trust your parental instincts. Understand that the COVID-19 virus is mutating, and our global pandemic situation is continually evolving. Thus, it is expected that a parent would often know best for their child.
In fact, be self aware too that parental anxiety can contribute significantly to illnesses. As a parent, if you remain overly concerned, it may hamper your ability to care for your little ones.
Therefore, parental worry is a valid reason to get babies tested for COVID-19. If tested negative, parent(s) can heave a sigh of relief and at least ensure a return to normal daily functioning. If tested positive (or equivocal result), then at least you can escalate the situation, and your baby can get the appropriate professional medical attention he or she requires too.
After all, we all know that simply telling parents “not to worry” often ends up coming across as just being a little more lip service.
SUMMARY OF THE 7 REASONS
Should you test your baby for the virus? Frankly, there could be a dozen more reasons beyond what we listed. Our focus here is on telling you about the 7 key and important reasons:
- Test your baby for COVID if required by law or regulations (such as traveling overseas or going to crowded events)
- Test your baby for COVID if it was advice from a medical professional
- Your baby is < 1 year old and has symptoms
- Your baby has other contributory medical illnesses (eg. asthma, cancer, immune system deficiencies, etc)
- Test your baby for COVID if he or she has signs or symptoms that are more than mild
- Test your baby for COVID if you suspect he or she may have the virus, and is physically around other people (who may be vulnerable). Eg. pregnant ladies, elderly, younger babies, participants of infant or childcare, babysitters, etc
- Check for COVID-19 if you remain in doubt and are worried still
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BOTTOMLINE OF WHY YOU SHOULD TEST YOUR BABY FOR COVID
All said though, there should be little holding back from testing your child for COVID-19, if you are worried. Moreover, there are increasing evidence and recommendations that the way forward to deal with our pandemic is via widespread testing, vaccination, and safe measures. So, go ahead and get tested!
Of course, we realize that there could be physical factors, such as medical contraindication to COVID testing, as well as psychological barriers that prevent parents from wanting to get their kids tested. Additionally, social and economic reasons play a part too! Very often, we hence cannot put a straightforward “yes” or “no” answer to this dilemma. But, if you have read to the end, we are sure that you would be much more enlightened about these 7 key reasons to get your baby tested. Weigh the pros and cons, and make the best decision for your beloved baby today.