How can you prepare your child for a coronavirus test?

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There is a lot of stigma surrounding the virus and misinformation regarding the test, so moms need to make sure they know all they can to assure their little ones.

When 6-year-old Sebastian started coughing one afternoon last week, and then woke with a fever that night, his mom started worrying about coronavirus.

The next day, his fever still high, she phoned the doctor for an appointment. After examining Sebastian and finding out that the family may have been exposed to the virus, the doctor told her to take him for a Covid-19 test.

“He said it was horrible,” but he was so brave says his mom, Lauren Fischer.

A day later Lauren got the call that he had tested positive for the virus…

When will my child need a Covid-19 test?

If your child has one or more symptoms of the virus, including fever, cough, runny nose and an upset stomach, you may need to make an appointment with the doctor, who will best advise whether he needs to go for the Covid-19 test.

What’s involved

Just like the nasal swabs done for other respiratory illnesses, a health care provider needs to obtain secretions from the back of the nose to test for Covid-19. To do this, your child will be encouraged to lean his head back. A long, thin Q-tip that’s very flexible will then gently be inserted deep inside his nose. The health care provider will quickly swish it around to get a sample of the secretions from the back of the nose and then take it out. Some tests are done through the mouth.

While the test won’t hurt your little one, it’s quite uncomfortable and will feel a little strange for your child – like someone’s tickling or poking him inside his nose.

Also Read: What is the difference between flu, allergies and coronavirus in your kids

Preparing your child

According to a KidsHealth report, it’s important to let your child know ahead of time that he’ll be having a test to find out why he’s not feeling well. Also, let him know that the people doing the test will be wearing gowns, gloves, glasses and a mask. You can even explain they’re wearing “superhero costumes” because they’re helping to keep everyone safe!

If you have a toddler, one useful suggestion is to role-play the coronavirus test at home with a teddy or a doll. You can give him an ear bud and he can pretend to put it in the toy’s nose for a count of five.

Keeping your child still

Even if you’ve prepped your little one for the test, you might still be worried that he won’t keep still while the health care practitioner takes aim for his nose with the Q-tip. For babies, the best suggestion would be to swaddle them, while toddlers and pre-schoolers may need to be held firmly on your lap, with one of your arms hugged around him while the other tilts his head back.

If your kid is a bit older, you can sit next to him and hold his hand or rub his back.

Try to keep your child distracted by singing a song, watching a video or even doing deep breathing exercises together.

Remember, the test will be over and done in a jiffy. Be sure to have a special reward at hand, like a small toy or a sweet, and go big on your praise for a job well done!


Sonya Naudé

Editor of Living and Loving. She is responsible for developing the brand’s overall content and business strategy.

She has worked on various newspapers and magazines as a journalist and editor over the years. Passionate about health and wellbeing, she has won several respected industry awards for writing and editing. She’s featured on radio and television as a health and parenting expert numerous times and has judged the Pfizer Mental Health Journalism Awards on three occasions.

Outside of work, she enjoys trying out recipes, reading crime mysteries and thrillers, practicing yoga, and exploring new destinations.

Learn more about Sonya Naudé.

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