Whether your infant has been exposed and is asymptomatic, or your child has symptoms of coronavirus (also known as COVID-19 or COVID), same-day COVID testing for babies is essential.
The result of diagnostic lab testing is an important step in determining what to do next and what type of care your baby needs. Here is your caregiver’s guide to coronavirus testing in infants.
How Are Babies Tested for This Virus?
Testing babies for COVID-19 is similar to testing adults. There are two primary types of tests:
- Molecular tests (PCR tests): Regarded as the gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis, these tests detect the genetic material of COVID using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique.
Typically, a sample is collected from the patient, most commonly via a nasal swab though it can be collected through a throat swab, which is then sent to an off-site lab for analysis. While PCR results can take a few days to come in, there have been advancements that enable faster turnaround times.
- Antigen tests (rapid tests): Also known as rapid tests, antigen tests search for specific proteins produced by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for COVID-19. What sets antigen tests apart is their quick results, often available within minutes. It’s important to note that although the accuracy of these tests has improved over time, they often result in false negatives, meaning the individual can still be infected but not test positive.
Testing babies can be more challenging due to their smaller airways and less predictable behavior during the testing process. While at-home tests can be used by caregivers, the procedure should be performed by a trained healthcare provider who is experienced in pediatric testing for the most accurate results.
Comfort and soothe your baby as needed during the testing process, as they may become upset or fussy.
What Are Common Coronavirus Symptoms in Infants?
COVID symptoms in infants can be subtle and overlap with many typical childhood illnesses. Some infants may be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, meaning they have the virus but show no signs. Since infants are unable to communicate their symptoms, it’s crucial for parents and caregivers to be vigilant, especially if they suspect potential exposure.
Your baby may need same-day COVID testing for babies if they experience the following, especially if they’ve been exposed:
- Fever: Infants with COVID-19 may develop a fever, although not all infants with the virus will have this symptom. If they do, it can be low grade.
- Cough: Some infants may have a mild cough, but it is often not as prominent as in older children or adults.
- Congestion and / or runny nose: Nasal congestion or a runny nose can occur.
- Irritability: They may appear more fussy than usual.
- Feeding difficulties: They may have difficulty feeding, be less interested in feeding, or refuse to feed.
- Lethargy: Some infants may seem unusually tired or hard to wake up.
- Vomiting and / or diarrhea: Infants may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.
- Respiratory distress: Severe cases of COVID-19 in infants can lead to respiratory distress, characterized by rapid breathing, grunting, or flaring nostrils. These are signs that require immediate medical attention at a hospital.
For Same-Day COVID Testing for Babies in Rockville, Turn to POP NOW
If you suspect that your infant has COVID or if they exhibit any concerning symptoms, turn to POP NOW for testing! An extension of Potomac Pediatrics, our pediatric urgent care facility offers same-day sick care, providing a comprehensive range of diagnosis and treatment options.
For questions, you can call us at 301-279-6750, but please note that we don’t take appointments over the phone. You may schedule online or walk into our office located on Omega Drive.