COVID-19 test for children
Children can also get COVID-19. However, most of the cases have been reported among adults and, according to current knowledge, children are not infected with COVID-19 more easily than adults.
Children and young people in good general health are at a low risk of developing severe COVID-19. Children and young people whose primary disease (e.g. asthma, heart condition or diabetes) is well controlled and who have no significant secondary diseases rarely develop severe COVID-19.
When should you take your child to a COVID-19 test?
If you suspect that your child may be infected with COVID-19 or has symptoms of a mild respiratory infection – such as a runny nose, a cough, a sore throat, body aches or a fever, please contact the Digital Clinic. In order to be able to use the services on behalf of your underage child or family member, you must first create a family profile. Once you have created the family profile, you can use the Digital Clinic services on behalf of your child as well as see the child’s test results in OmaMehiläinen .
Start a chat in the Digital Clinic on the channel for respiratory tract symptoms or COVID-19 tests and select then on behalf of whom you are using the service. A Digital Clinic doctor will reply to the chat and give you a referral for a suitable COVID-19 test, if needed.
Once your child has been issued with a referral, find the drive-in testing station closest to you and bring your child to the station. Please note that a referral for a COVID-19 test is always required.
How should I and my child prepare ourselves for the COVID-19 test?
The COVID-19 test is typically performed from adults and children from a sample from deep inside the patient's nasal cavity taken with a with a flexible cotton bud. The cotton bud used for small children is thinner than the one used for bigger children and adults. The child should blow their nose before the test. If the child cannot blow their own nose, wiping the nose is sufficient.
The child may be nervous about the sampling, so the parent should tell the child the basics about the sampling.
The following matters, for example, should be told to the child:
- The sample is taken from the nose with a cotton bud
- The sampling may fee unpleasant, but it only takes a couple of seconds
- It is important to take the COVID-19 test, which means that the sample must be taken even though it might feel unpleasant
You should not downplay the unpleasantness of the test for the child, but unnecessary intimidation should be avoided. The parents know what is best for their child and know how and what to tell the child about the sampling.
The parent should take the child on their lap during the sampling to make the sampling smoother. The cotton bud may tickle the child’s nose and cause the child to move their head, but the head must be held steady in order for the sampling to succeed. It is important for the parent to hold the child in place by holding the child’s hands with one hand and using the other hand to support the forehead.
At a drive-in testing station, the parent should hold the child on their lap in the back or front seat of the car for the entire duration of the sampling. The sampling may also be performed while the child sits on a safety seat. In this case, the parent should sit next to the child in the back seat so that the parent can hold the child still during the sampling, if necessary.
The COVID-19 sampling may be a new and exciting situation also for adults. It is important that the parent also remains calm and remembers to breathe. When the adult behaves calmly, the child will usually also calm down.
Will the child’s medical expense insurance cover the COVID-19 test?
In most cases, the child’s medical expense insurance will cover the COVID-19 test when a doctor has issued a referral to the test and it is performed as a part of a treatment process. Check the child’s insurance terms and conditions or insurance company to determine whether the COVID-19 test is covered by the child’s insurance and whether you have an approval for direct invoicing for the visit.
Learn more: Accessing services at Mehiläinen with an insurance (in Finnish)
When and where can I see the child’s test result?
In order for you to see the test results of underaged children in OmaMehiläinen, you have to create a family profile. The COVID-19 test result is available in OmaMehiläinen within 1–3 days. Please wait for three days for the test result. We analyse tests 24/7, so the result may also show in OmaMehiläine in the middle of the night.
If the COVID-19 test result is positive, you will be sent a digital survey in OmaMehiläinen for tracking any possible chains of infection. Our health care professionals will also call you to go over the instructions for home quarantine and the information about potential chains of infection and exposure to be submitted to the physician in charge of communicable diseases in your place of residence for the purpose of issuing statements and decisions. This information is very important for controlling the spread of the epidemic in Finland.
We will report positive test results either to the administrative body of your place of residence or the hospital district in compliance with regional practices. The investigation of contact tracing will also comply with regional practices, which means that a representative of Mehiläinen, your home municipality or the hospital district will manage it on a case-by-case basis.
The website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) maintains current COVID-19 information concerning children. The latest recommendation, for example, on the COVID-19 testing of children and return to early education and school are available on the THL website.
Learn more: THL – Children and COVID-19
Experts in the article: Petri Koponen, Doctor of Medical Science, specialist in paediatrics and Emmi Leskinen, bioanalyst.