Managing Covid-19 @ Home
Dr Gina Dahel’s Top tips to surviving COVID-19 at home.
COVID-19 infection rates in Singapore are at their highest and the highest rate is in young children. The good news is that most children over the age of 12 months generally experience mild symptoms and can recover well at home. Babies less than 3 months of age should be assessed by a doctor and will likely be admitted to hospital. If deemed well enough, babies 3-12 months can recover at home in the home recovery programme.
What symptoms should parents look out for?
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of other acute respiratory infections, such as fever (temperature above 38 degrees Celsius), sore throat, cough, runny nose, vomiting and diarrhoea. You may also notice that your child is quite tired and has less energy than normal.
Top tips for managing your child at home
Treatment is mainly supportive as COVID-19 is a viral infection, the immune system will fight off the virus. Antibiotics will not help unless your child has developed a secondary bacterial infection.
The following tips can help your child recover quickly at home:
Regular fluids Give your child lots of fluids to drink. Fluids will stop them from getting dehydrated. If they are not eating, offer diluted orange or apple juice to ensure they get adequate sugar and salt and not just plain water. Alternatively, rehydration sachets can ensure they stay hydrated and keep their sugar levels up. If they are managing to eat, choose bland high energy foods like toast and cheese crackers. If your child is less than 12 months of age, then offer extra breast and formula feeds throughout the day.
Their bodies will be working very hard to fight off the infection, which takes up a lot of
energy. Therefore, they will need to rest as much as possible to help them get better
2. Prevent overheating
Keep your child cool and avoid dressing them in heavy clothing or too many
blankets. However, do not let them get too cold either, as this will cause the small
blood vessels in their skin to constrict, preventing excess heat from the fever
3. Fever medicine
If your child has a fever or is distressed and is over 3 months of age, you may give
your baby infant paracetamol (four to six-hourly, maximum four doses in 24 hours). If
they are having plenty of wet nappies and have no underlying kidney issues, you
may also use infant ibuprofen (six to eight hourly, maximum three doses in 24 hours.
Always follow the correct dosing instructions on the bottle. The medicine is primarily
to help them keep comfortable during a high fever or illness. Space these medicines
out throughout the day and never exceed the maximum dose in 24 hours.
Check on your child regularly, including nap times and ensure there is an adult with
them at night when they are asleep. Do not let them sleep alone as they may get
worse, have a seizure due to the fever, or vomit and choke overnight.
If your baby is less than 12 months of age, they will need to be on the home recovery
programme. If your child is less than 3 months of age, they will need to be assessed
by a doctor immediately and will likely be admitted to hospital. Other at-risk babies
and children are those with underlying medical conditions like heart or lung issues.
These children will be deemed high risk and may need to be admitted to hospital or
monitored closely on the home recovery programme.
For older children, you should have your child seen by a medical health professional
if they have any of the following:
• A fever for more than five days; a very high fever shows your child's body is
working hard to fight off the infection. The fever will start to come down after a few
days with most viruses. However, if your child still has a fever after five days, they
must be seen by a doctor for a thorough assessment.
• Dehydration; If you cannot get adequate fluids into your child, then they will need to
be assessed and may need help keeping hydrated. Signs of dehydration are
reduced wet nappies or the soft spot on the baby's head feeling sunken or
• Any worrying change in appearance, such as looking pale or flushed.
• Any worrying behaviour changes such as being very sleepy, floppy, irritable or
• Problems breathing; any signs of increased work of breathing or strained breathing.
• Deterioration; most children get worse over the first couple of days and then start to
improve. If you feel your child is not improving and getting worse then have them
At IMC – Children's clinic, we are always happy to offer support and help to you and
your child. We also offer telemedicine appointments where we can provide advice
and support whilst your child recovers at home.
We will all contract COVID-19 at some point, but by following these useful tips, you
can ensure your child recovers quickly or identify when further help is required. Good luck!