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By Sonya Naudé

If you haven’t had a COVID-19 test yet, you need to read this, so that you know how to prep your child in case he or she needs to have one

When six 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.

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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.

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.

How to teach young children at home without expensive material resources

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!

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.