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ST. LOUIS – The return to school for many children arrived this new year as COVID cases have increased.

Some warning signs on when you need to call a doctor and details on home tests.

Although many pediatric COVID cases are mild enough to be cared for at home, some children are being hospitalized. Pediatrician Dr. Kelly Ross is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine. She said there are some warning signs parents can look out for if a child isn’t improving and she explains when it’s time to see a doctor.

Here are some signs she says to watch for:

  • If you child is having trouble breathing
  • Your child is always dehydrated
  • If your child is having persistent pain or pressure in their chest
  • Any of these may mean you should contact your child’s pediatrician

It has also been difficult lately to get a COVID test. Many have waited in long lines in the cold or sat in drive-thru testing sites for hours on end. This has led to a spike in the demand for home tests. Self-tests can also be hard to find these days and they present at least one key downside. Positive results administered by medical professionals are reported to the CDC, but there isn’t a requirement for people to report their self-test. Ideally, you should report positive tests TO your doctor in case they need to Intervene with treatments. Reporting also helps keep better records of case counts and better understand how the vaccines are holding up against the virus.

Here are some key details you should know before contacting your provider:

  • Make sure you include the type of test you took-rapid, regular antigen, or PCR
  • When you took the test
  • When your symptoms started
  • Your vaccination status, if you’re willing to disclose it
  • Which vaccine you received and when you received your doses and whether you have received a booster
  • Any over the counter medications you have taken to treat symptoms
  • Names of people and places you were near in the days leading up to your test results

Keep in mind, according to the CDC, if you’re fully vaccinated and have recently been exposed to someone with COVID, you should take a test five days after exposure unless you are showing symptoms, then you can test immediately. If you are unvaccinated, you may want to test right away if you’ve been exposed. If negative, test again in five to seven days after their last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop, according to the CDC.