Key points

  • PlunketLine is a free, 24/7 service and we’re here to support you with specialist advice you can trust. If you are worried about your child, please give our registered nurses a call on 0800 933 922.

  • Info in NZ Sign Language: If you're deaf or hearing impaired, the Ministry of Health and Deaf Aotearoa have some great videos in NZSL that you might find useful alongside the information on this page. 

My child has COVID-19 symptoms. What should I do?

If you think that you or your child has COVID-19 or has been exposed, call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

It's important to get your wee one's immunisation on time. You can get your tamariki immunised as it falls under essential personal movement. Just make sure that you call the facility before you go, so you know what to do when you get there.

How can I protect my child from COVID-19?

Protecting everyone, but especially our young preschool tamariki who can’t get vaccinated from COVID-19, involves using layers of protection 

  • Get adults and eligible children in your household vaccinated.
  • Stay home if you or your tamariki are sick, and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice on testing.
  • Don’t allow people to visit if they are sick.
  • Check your visitors are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask wherever you go, preferably a medical mask – the ones you can buy over the counter at your local pharmacy.
  • Encourage or require visitors to your home to wear a face mask.
  • Keep your home well ventilated by opening windows, especially if you have visitors. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Wash your hands often, with soap, for 20 seconds, then dry your hands completely.
  • Wash your hands if you have been in a public place, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Use hand sanitiser if hand washing isn’t an option.    

I’m a parent/caregiver and I’m feeling really worried about COVID-19

It’s very normal to feel worried, especially in such uncertain times. We recommend staying in touch with friends and family, and trying to stay positive and have fun with your children.

It is important to get together with friends and family, but to do it safely. Physical distancing does not mean social distancing – you can still be social while maintaining a distance of at least two metres in pubic and retail stores. Try meeting with friends and family outdoors – it’s a great way to connect with each other with nature, while keeping yourself and your tamariki as safe as possible.  

If you are worried about your child, please give Plunket’s lovely registered nurses a call on 0800 933 922.

PlunketLine is a free, 24/7 service and we’re here to support you with kindness and specialist advice you can trust.

I have COVID-19 but I'm breastfeeding/formula feeding. What should I do?

There is no clinical evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to your baby in the same way as it can to anyone in close contact with you. When a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus. 

The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus.   

If you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, limit the potential spread of COVID-19 to your baby with these steps: 

  • wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
  • avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby
  • if you do cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with tissues or your elbow, put your used tissue in the rubbish bin, and wash and dry your hands
  • clean your breast pump, bottles, and teats as recommended by the manufacturer after each use
  • consider asking someone who is well to feed expressed milk or formula to your baby  

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as the flu. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean that your child or you have coronavirus. Symptoms of the virus include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing.

Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia. Urgently seek medical attention if your child (PlunketLine is available 24/7 on 0800 933 922) or member of your family is struggling to breathe.

What can I do if I have children and have to self-isolate?

The Ministry of Health has information on self-isolating here

Also check out Plunket's Facebook chats and information for parents here.