How to get a Covid test for a child in the UK

CHILDREN are less likely to get coronavirus than adults, and although it is usually not as serious, it is still a possibility.

And with schools now returning, the chances of covid spreading could increase, meaning it is important to know how to test your child if they become unwell or are at risk.

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How can I get a coronavirus test for my child?

If your child has any of the main symptoms of coronavirus including a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste, it is advised to get them a test as soon as possible.

You can order a free home test kit from the NHS website.

There are also a number of testing sites across the UK which you can book.

To order a test, head to the government website.

You can get advice from NHS 111 if you're worried about your child or not sure what to do.

For children aged five or over – use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

For children under five – call 111.

Where can I get my child tested?

There are a number of places that children – like adults – can get a coronavirus test.

The most common places are at an NHS hospital or a regional test centre across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern ireland.

But you can also visit on of the Satellite centres, have a home testing kit sent to your door or pop to a mobile testing unit.

What tests are available?

An antigen – or swab – test can detect if a person currently has Covid-19.

This is through getting samples from your nose and throat.

There is also an antibody test – which tests if you have previously had the virus and if you are immune to it – but this is not widely available.

How do I test a child?

Samples are taken using a swab – which resemble a large cotton bud – from deep inside the nose and throat before being sent off to a lab for testing.

This will require swabbing the child's tonsils and may be uncomfortable.

Remain calm and confident as you go through the process of testing in order to help the child to stay calm too.

Talk through the steps together. If possible, practice without using any of the testing materials.

For younger children, it may be helpful to give them a distraction while you conduct the test (such as a video), or make it into a game. You could
also plan a reward for the child after the sample is taken.

If possible, have the child sit on someone’s lap or have someone hold their
hand to try making them feel more comfortable and secure.

Show them the swab stick and have them keep saying "ahhhh" while you
swab their tonsils.

Your child may have some gagging or brief discomfort when the swab touches their tonsils. This is normal for all age groups.

A helpful video is also available on how to test a child.

Children accounted for just one in every 100 cases of Covid in England during the first wave of the pandemic, figures show.

The NHS advises to stay at home and do not have visitors until you get the test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get the result.

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