Covid-19 in children under the age of twelve

Covid-19: Why is everything different for children under the age of twelve?

Many parents are confused by the current situation: Why does a 13-year-old girl have to take a coronavirus test but her 10-year-old brother doesn't? The latest health tip shines a light on this confusing topic.
Children are the main infection vector for flu and many other common illnesses. These viruses spread very quickly among children and the infection then spreads to adults. Children are therefore referred to as "drivers" of infection in the case of flu. "With Covid-19, on the other hand, it is young people and adults who are the drivers", explains Dr Silke Schmitt Oggier, paediatrician and Medical Director at santé24. Children do not play a major role in the spread.

This means that children under the age of 12 do not need to take a Covid test

According to the latest findings, children under the age of twelve can be infected with Covid-19. They are almost always infected by adults or teenagers in their immediate environment. Children under the age of twelve very rarely infect each other, nor do they pass Covid-19 to other people. Children under the age of twelve usually have very minor symptoms. These are the findings of studies conducted during the first wave of Covid-19.

Younger children in particular have several, usually unremarkable, colds every year or per autumn/winter season with a cold, cough, earache and/or stomach/intestinal problems. For children under twelve years of age with mild cold symptoms and without fever or a severe cough, Swiss paediatricians and the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) recommend checking the child's environment to see if anyone has contracted Covid-19 or is displaying corresponding symptoms. If this is the case for an individual over the age of 12, this older individual must be tested first.
With Covid-19 it is young people and adults who are the drivers. Dr Silke Schmitt Oggier, paediatrician and Medical Director at santé24

If, on the other hand, there is no one in the child's environment with suspected Covid-19 or relevant symptoms, we can assume that the child has an ordinary cold. The child does not have to be tested and can go back to school or kindergarten as soon as it has been symptom-free for 24 hours.

Where and when is testing done?

However, if the child has a severe cough or fever or has been ill for a prolonged period, the paediatrician, together with the parents, will decide whether the child needs to be tested. Young children should be taken to a paediatrician for a test in the first instance. Children over the age of twelve can be tested in some test centres if they are accompanied by an adult. It is worth contacting the test centre beforehand or checking the website.

In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.