This is how you can prepare your children for a Covid-19 test

Doctor screening child for Covid-19.
Doctor screening child for Covid-19.
Zave Smith/ Getty Images

With the reopening of schools for multiple grades, children are at a risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Since May, the number of infections in schools has escalated. Although children rarely experience severe illness with the virus, there might come a time where you need to have a conversation with and prepare your children for a Covid-19 test.

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With this might come a lot of questions on how it feels, how long it will take or if it will hurt. Therefore, it important to have this information handy as your children either prepare to go back to school or face possible exposure to the virus.

If your child has one or more symptoms of the virus, you may need to either isolate or make an appointment with the doctor, who will best advise whether they need to go for the Covid-19 test.

What does the test involve?

For the nasal swab test, the health care provider will need to obtain secretions from the back of the nose to test for Covid-19.

  • In order to do this, the child will have to lean their head back.
  • A long, thin and flexible cotton bud will then be inserted deep inside their nose.
  • The health care provider will then quickly swirl it around to get a sample of the secretions from the back of the nose and then take it out.

Read more | New study finds that people are more likely to contract Covid-19 at home than outside

While the test isn’t hurtful, it can be quite uncomfortable and feel a little strange for a child. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your children for the test:

The talk

According to a KidsHealth report, it’s important to let your child know ahead of time that they will be having a test to find out why they are not feeling well.

Allow your child to ask questions and talk about ways you can help make the process more comforting for them.

Another suggestion is to role-play the coronavirus test at home with a teddy or a doll so that they can see how the test might be conducted.

What to do during the test

It is important to be really still when the test is being done. Take age appropriate steps for babies and toddlers. This may include swaddling a baby, putting a toddler on your lap or holding their hand if your child is a bit older.

Think of some other ways you might be able to help calm their nerves, such as breathing exercises, counting or playing a favourite song during the test.

This video from Mayo Clinic might also be a helpful to prepare children for the nasal swab test and help ease some of their anxiety.

With the above, it’s important for parents and guardians to know the symptoms of Covid-19 in babies and children, and why they might be affected differently by the virus.

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Following the guidelines to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 can be particularly difficult for children so it’s advised for parents to be a bit more patient with them. It’s also important to research the different types of tests being conducted and choose which one you believe you or your child will be more comfortable with.

*In addition to these steps, readers are encouraged to obtain medical advice where necessary

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