Children with respiratory illnesses must be vigilant against the virus Elise is 12 and in seventh grade in Minneapolis Public […]

Image of COVID vaccine vials on a surface.

Children with respiratory illnesses must be vigilant against the virus

Elise is 12 and in seventh grade in Minneapolis Public Schools. She lives with her mother, stepfather and two siblings. Her father, stepmother and stepbrother are also family members she spends time with. 

Elise likes science and English classes. She and her family have pet dogs and cats to dote on. She loves Taylor Swift, and enjoys drawing and beading. 

Elise plays sports through the recreation center in her neighborhood. Soccer is her favorite sport. She would like to play on a high school team when she gets older. 

“I have had COVID two times,” said Elise. Both cases have been mild. She was tired and had headaches, along with a fever, both times. 

But as she got older, Elise experienced COVID-19 and testing in different ways. 
“I was 9 when I first got sick,” she said. Elise hadn’t been vaccinated then. It was just before vaccines became widely available for children. 

She remembers not liking having her mother put a swab up her nose, to test for the virus. She also remembers having body aches and pains, along with being tired. “I just wanted to sleep.” 

Now that she is older, Elise can use the swabs herself. When she had COVID-19 the second time, Elise had been vaccinated and boosted. She thinks that having had the shots helped her not feel as sick, even though she doesn’t like shots. 

Elise has had asthma for much of her life, so her family is careful about COVID-19. Elise uses an inhaler as needed. She has found that after her bouts with COVID-19, she has to use the inhaler more frequently for a time. 

Elise said children and teens should get vaccinated, especially if they go to school in-person and take part in activities and sports. “You won’t be as sick.” 

From Access Press: The Mayo Clinic offers much useful advice for parents and guardians. According to Mayo,  children represent about 18 percent of all reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. since the pandemic began. 

While children are as likely to get COVID-19 as adults, most children are less likely to become severely ill. Mayo’s website notes that up to 50 percent of children and adolescents might have COVID-19 with no symptoms. 

But other children and teens have gotten very sick. 

Certain medical conditions might increase a child’s risk of serious illness with COVID-19. These include obesity, diabetes, asthma, congenital heart disease, genetic conditions and conditions affecting the nervous system or metabolism. 

The Mayo research also shows that there have been disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 in Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black children than in non-Hispanic white children.

Babies under age 1 might be at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 than older children, according to Mayo. 

And for families like Elise’s, Mayo offers an online guide about how to prepare children for those unpleasant nasal swabs. Learn more at COVID-19 in babies and children.

  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."

Mental Wellness