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COVID-19 and Teens

  • COVID-19 is the illness caused by a new coronavirus identified in 2019. It can infect both children and adults.
  • It is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and sends droplets with the virus into the air. The droplets can then land onto a person’s face or surfaces such as tables, food, or hands.
  • People can become infected when droplets with the virus enter the body through their eyes, nose, mouth, or lungs.
  • People with COVID-19 might have a fever, cough, trouble breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, new loss of taste of smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Some people feel sick and others do not.
  • Children and teenagers usually have fewer symptoms compared to adults.
  • Some people can carry the virus without knowing it because they do not feel any symptoms.

What do I need to know?

  • Even if you do not feel sick, you could still have COVID-19 and spread it to others.
  • It’s up to each person to do their part in order to keep family, friends, and neighbors safe and healthy.
  • Here are some steps you can take to avoid getting COVID-19. Many of these steps also prevent getting other types of viruses that can make you sick.
    • Get the COVID-19 vaccine. We now have vaccines to help us keep people from getting sick with COVID-19. Teenagers as young as 12 years old can get the vaccine now. It has been found to be safe and very effective to prevent COVID-19. The vaccine is still being studied in younger children.

    • Wear a mask. Especially if you are not vaccinated, it is recommended to wear a mask when going out in public. Wear a mask when you are around people who do not live in your house, if you are inside or cannot be six feet away from them.

    • Keep “social distance” from others. Not getting to close to other people is the best way to avoid getting the virus. As regular activities open up, if you have not had the vaccine, it is still recommended to try to keep your distance. Staying six feet apart from others is best. If you get together with other unvaccinated kids, it is better to see each other outside than inside because there is more air ventilation. 

    • Wash your hands. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have soap and water, you may also use a hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer needs to have at least 60% alcohol-base (you can check this number on the back label). Wash your hands after using the bathroom, sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, coming inside from outdoors, and before eating (even snacks).

    • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow. Put your used tissue in the trash and wash your hands right away.

    • Try not to touchyour eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.

    • Follow your school’s advicefor staying safe if you are going to in-person classes. 

    • Have healthy habits. COVID-19 can cause people to have trouble breathing. Keep your lungs healthy by not smoking and not vaping.

    • Talk to your parents if you start to feel sick, have a fever, or trouble breathing.

Taking Care of Yourself

  • Changes in our lives because of COVID-19 can make us feel alone or cut off from our family and friends.
  • Help yourself by sticking to a schedule. Set times to wake up, get ready for your day, exercise, do your schoolwork, eat meals, and get 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
  • Make time for yourself. Do something creative like writing in a journal, listening to music, or making art.
  • Set up virtual hang outs or outdoor events with your friends and families. Don’t forget about older family members who may also feel alone.
  • Other ideas include:
    • Go for a walk or run outside if you can. You can go by yourself or with the people you live with. Remember to keep 6 feet away from people if you have not had the vaccine.
    • Get an online library card and check out books. Read the latest hit or research something that you’re interested in.
    • Schedule a virtual movie watching party with your family and friends.
    • Create a project or activity for the whole family, like a game night.
    • Use your time to help clean around the house, including your bedroom.
  • If you have questions, be sure to ask them! Talk to your family about how you’re feeling. If you are feeling sad or down, your parents and your doctor can help.
  • For more on COVID-19 and your mental health, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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