Long COVID may be less common in children

A pediatrician listens to a child's heart with a stethoscope.

The long-term effects of COVID-19 appear uncommon in children, but children who experience lingering effects may experience different symptoms compared to adults, according to a study in JAMA Pediatrics.  
After reviewing the electronic health records of thousands of children who received a COVID test in 2020-2021, researchers found 9.1% of children had a positive test result. Of these children, 41.9% had lingering COVID symptoms, also called the post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC). Common PASC symptoms, assessed 1-6 months after COVID, included loss of taste or smell, heart inflammation, and cough and cold features. In comparison, 38.2% of children who did not test positive for COVID had similar symptoms. The differences between the two groups suggest a 3.7% prevalence of PASC among pediatric patients.  
Children with PASC were more likely to be younger, have had a severe COVID case, and have underlying medical conditions. Like adults, some children felt chest pain, tired, and had the chills. However, they were less likely to have neurological symptoms, such as a headache, tingling pain, and brain fog or memory loss, which have been more common in adults. Additional pediatric symptoms included hair loss, skin rashes, diarrhea, and respiratory symptoms.  
The research was supported by NHLBI and the Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) program.