Skip to Main Content
Cook Children's
Patient and Family Education

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Discharge

Your child has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are answers to questions you may have.


How is coronavirus (COVID-19) treated?

Coronavirus is a viral illness which means your child's immune system will attack the virus to get rid of it. Like other viral illnesses such as the flu or cold, your child will need to stay home for several days to recover.

While at home it is important to:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink a lot of water or other liquids.

What about medicines?

There is no medicine to make coronavirus go away. Because it is a virus, antibiotics will not help. Anti-viral medicines are currently only used for children who are so sick they must be in the hospital.

Your doctor may recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) for fevers, aches, and pains. Follow your doctor's directions and the labels on the bottles. 

What if my child seems to be getting sicker?

Call your doctor if your child seems to be getting worse or starts having new symptoms, especially skin changes or changes to the eyes or mouth.

Call 911 or go to the emergency room if your child has any of these symptoms.
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn't go away
  • Easily confused
  • Not able to wake up or stay away
  • Bluish lips or face

How can I keep my family safe?

Coronavirus is highly contagious. It is much more contagious than the flu. Adults tend to get much sicker than kids, so pay extra attention to these tips when your child is sick.


  • Wear if you must leave your home.

Wash your hands:

  • Using soap, wash hands often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer if you don't have soap and water.
  • Rub sanitizer on your hands until it dries.

When you cough or sneeze:

  • Cover your nose and mouth.
  • Use a tissue if you have one.
  • Use your elbow if you don't.

Try not to touch your face:

  • If you have to touch your face, first wash your hands.
  • Wash afterwards.

Keep your home clean:

  • Use soapy water, cleaning spray, or disinfecting wipes.
  • Focus on cleaning things you touch a lot like doorknobs, light switches, toilet and sink handles, tables and countertops.
  • It is also important to clean phones, keyboards, tablets, TV remotes, and other electronic devices.

When can my child go back to daycare, school, or be around others?

Your child needs to stay home, away from anyone who does not live in your house until all three of these are true:

  1. They have had no fever for 3 days without Tylenol or Motrin, and
  2. Their cough and other symptoms are improving, and
  3. It has been at least 10 days since they started getting sick.

They must wait 10 days because they can spread the germs to other for that long. If your child has other healthcare needs or is expected to be admitted to the hospital after COVID-19, there may be other things you will need to do. Please discuss with your doctor.

When can my child return to sports?

Most kids can return to regular play when they are feeling better and have met all the conditions above.

Competitive athletes are at higher risk for heart problems due to COVID-19.

  • They need to rest with no hard activity for 2 weeks after recovery.
  • A slow return to sports with close attention to heart or breathing problems is suggested.
  • It is important to talk to your doctor after your child has recovered, because they may need additional testing such as an EKG or heart ultrasound.  

When can I go back to work or be around others?

You or others who have been in close contact with your child need to stay home (quarantined) for 14 days AFTER your child is allowed to go back to daycare, school or be around others.

Close contact means anyone who:

  • Was within 6 feet of your child for 15 minutes or more.
  • Provided care to your sick child.
  • Had direct physical contact with your child such as touching, hugging, or kissing.
  • Shared eating or drinking utensils with your child.
  • Your child may have sneezed, coughed or somehow gotten respiratory droplets on.
We know 14 days seems like a long time, especially when your child is feeling better. But it is very important to do this!

Your child has been contagious for 10 days. Each of those days counts as a new day YOU were exposed to COVID-19. It can take 14 days for you to start showing symptoms, so stay home and away from high-risk people. Monitor yourself for fever, cough, trouble breathing, or other changes.

Calendar with example of 14 day quarantine


Why are there different types of tests?

There are different kinds of tests for coronavirus. We use viral tests to diagnose coronavirus. Please talk to your doctor if you have questions about testing.

Viral Test (Also called PCR)

This test tells us if your child has a current infection. It finds parts of the virus called RNA.
We can find RNA whent he virus is active in the body. This can be sometimes up to 2 days before your child shows symptoms.

There are two different kinds of viral tests.
  • One tests the front of the nose and one tests the very back of the nose.
  • Equipment used by staff changes depending on the test.
  • Second tests are often not recommended. Sometimes small parts of virus remain even when the virus is going away and cannot spread to anyone else. This is why we often do not recommend a second test.

Antibody Test (also called serologic)

This test is used only in certain situations. This blood test tells us if your child has had an infection in the past. This test looks to see if your child's immune system made antibodies when it fought off a past infection with coronavirus.

  • It can take days or weeks after your child is sick for these antibodies to show up on a test.
  • Antibodies usually help protect you from getting sick again. We are still learning if having coronavirus antibodies will protect your child from getting sick again.


This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.