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Seeking Medical Care and Treating Symptoms of COVID-19 in Children

Updated June 17, 2020

Children's Mercy is committed to providing the community with information on COVID-19 and steps to seek medical care for children including:

  • Understanding the symptoms
  • Completing a virtual screening 
  • Managing symptoms

Seeking medical care


Mild illness and seeking medical care

If you have questions about whether your child needs to be seen:

If your child has a mild illness, we recommend staying at home. Consider using treatments that you would use for the common cold, including fever reducers (ibuprofen and acetaminophen), humidified air, and cough suppressants for age-appropriate children.

Children with mild illness do not need to see a medical provider.

If you have questions about whether your child needs to see a medical provider:

  • Please call your primary care physician first
  • You may also conduct a virtual screening, see steps below
  • Or, call the CHILDREN'S MERCY COVID-19 HOTLINE at (816) 302-8800

Testing and virtual screenings

If you are concerned that your child may have COVID-19, and you have a primary care provider, we recommend you call your primary care provider first.

If your need is more urgent, please call 911.

Testing for COVID-19

Important information about testing

  • Not all children will be tested for COVID-19
  • If your child has mild symptoms, they should stay home

Testing by your primary care provider

  • Please contact your primary care provider first to determine if you should be seen at their office

Testing by Children's Mercy

  • If your care provider (primary care or Children's Mercy nurse or pediatric specialist) is concerned your child might be in respiratory distress, they may suggest you go to the Emergency Room 
  • Your child may be tested for COVID-19

Preparing your child for a nasal swab

The screening test for COVID-19 involves swabbing your child's nose. Below are helpful steps that explain the procedure to your child.

  1. Your nurses and doctors need to help find out what germs are making your body sick.

    Nurse in PPE

  2. The nurse will put a thin cotton swab inside your nose and move it around for a few seconds.

    Teddy bear with nasal swab

  3. The cotton swab is soft. Most kids say this is uncomfortable but is over very fast!

    Teddy bear with nasal swab inserted

  4. Please let the nurse know if you have questions! Thank you for being so brave! This will help us figure out more about why you are sick and how we can help you feel better!

    Teddy bear done with nasal swab

Virtual screenings

Available 24 hours a day

If you do not have a primary care provider, or if it is after hours, you may complete a virtual screening to determine if your child should be seen by a pediatric specialist at Children's Mercy. Here are the steps to get you started.

Virtual screenings are available for children:

  • Who are physically located in Kansas, Missouri or Oklahoma at the present time
  • If you are currently outside of these states, please contact a local health care provider

How virtual screenings work

  1. You will answer basic questions about your child's current health. 

If your answers indicate your child may be at risk for a respiratory infection

  1. You will be asked if you would like to speak with a nurse from Children's Mercy.
  2. If you answer "yes," you will be contacted via phone by a nurse from Children's Mercy.
  3. The nurse will determine if your child should be seen virtually by a Children's Mercy pediatric specialist.
Find a Doctor Start a virtual screening

Treating symptoms of COVID-19

Jennifer Schuster, MD
 shares her expert advice on how to treat your child if they have a fever or cough and what to do if you suspect your child may have COVID-19 (coronavirus).