The latest symptoms of coronavirus to be added to the list – along with a dry cough and fever – are said to be loss of taste and smell. But when a baby or young child suffers from COVID-19, and can't tell you how they're feeling, what is it really like? What are the symptoms of coronavirus in babies? One mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, speaks to HELLO! about her and her child’s mild coronavirus symptoms.
Day one: I woke up with a slight cough but put it down to dust – we'd been clearing out a junk room the day before, so thought nothing of it. As it was a Sunday, my boyfriend, baby and I did our usual Sunday things; a long walk with the dog, popping to the supermarket (anti-bac wipes in hand), cooking a big roast dinner. As the day went on, the cough got a little more intense. My parents, who are 67 and 72, both with underlying health conditions, were due to come and visit the next day but with all the warnings of coronavirus symptoms including a dry cough, I cancelled their visit, just in case…
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Day two: The cough was still there, and I woke up to the sound of my 11-month-old baby coughing. It wasn't unusual as hey, babies cough. She was crankier than usual all day, but I put it down to teething/tiredness/being a baby. Come 6pm, all that changed. Within five minutes, I went from feeling completely fine to shivering, nausea and extreme fatigue. The baby was crying a lot more than normal, but it was her bedtime so we assumed she was tired. As her Dad settled her off to sleep, I went to bed with a blanket, dressing gown, hot water bottle – I was cold to my bones, despite cranking up the heating. Then nausea hit even harder.
I spent the next few hours vomiting, and veering between boiling hot and freezing cold. I also found it hard to talk; my breath was ragged, only managing a few words before needing to take a breath again. I couldn't get out of bed. My baby had also deteriorated. She woke up screaming and red-faced, her temperature was 39C so her Dad took her downstairs to cool down, and she fell asleep on his shoulder – not something she does often anymore. The night was fraught. I was absolutely exhausted, exhaustion that I've never felt, and had a banging headache, ear pain and neck ache. My baby's temperature went down to 37C and she slept through the night, albeit with a cough here and there.
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Day three: Extreme fatigue. I had a fitful night's sleep and was dog-tired; I couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom. I spent the day in bed, munching on nothing but ice cubes and drinking the odd glass of water. The baby woke up with a temperature, 38C, but no other symptoms; she spent the whole day clinging onto her Dad, being cuddled and whimpering. She only wanted to drink milk, eat a plain biscuit and sleep. She whimpered on and off throughout the day with her temperature going between 36.9C (normal) to 39C - we let her nursery know that she wouldn't be in for 7 days, with suspected coronavirus symptoms. I stayed in bed all day, sleeping on and off; she went to bed like normal but woke up at 2am screaming. It took two hours to settle her, her temperature normal but extremely upset.
Day four: I woke up feeling completely different – like I had a really bad cold, with a sore throat, stuffy nose and barking cough. I was weak, but I was able to get out of bed, shower and eat. Throughout the day coughing fits would come out of nowhere, and I would find it hard to catch my breath from the cough. My daughter woke up with a very runny nose but a normal temperature - but she just didn't seem happy. She was more tired than usual, and only wanted to sit with me rather than play.
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Day five: If I didn't know better, I’d assumed I had had stomach flu. All the signs pointed towards a cold, the flu or a stomach bug all rolled into one. The barking cough still barking, and my daughter back to her normal self, albeit with a runny nose and a very mild cough.
Day eight: We're still self-isolating, and the barking cough is only now bothering me in the evenings. My baby is back to her normal, cheeky, mischievous self. Of course, we will never know if we both suffered from the virus, as only those hospitalised are tested, but the signs point towards COVID-19. If it was the virus, I am incredibly fortunate that we both had such mild symptoms and are grateful that my partner hasn’t experienced any of the symptoms either.
For more information, visit nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
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