Public health officials said children who have been exposed to the coronavirus should be checked for heart problems before they return to sports and physical activity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in conjunction with the American College of Cardiology is out with a set of Return to Sports guidelines.

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Daniela Moscarella, a clinical instructor and pediatric nurse practitioner at the Rutgers School of Nursing, says if kids over the age of 12 have had COVID-19 with either mild or moderate symptoms, or no symptoms at all, and they want to engage in competitive sports, they should be checked by a doctor.

“These kids need to be seen by their pediatric primary care provider and an EKG needs to be done,” she said. “We need to make sure there’s no arrhythmia, there’s nothing else going on."

She said if a child’s electrocardiogram is abnormal, the child will need to be checked by a cardiologist, “because we are seeing these kids are having types of chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, and syncope, which is passing out.”

Moscarella said this situation is not common but some kids have had cardiac problems after getting COVID-19.

She said if a child under 12 has had COVID-19 with mild to moderate symptoms, he or she should refrain from sports for about two weeks. Once they return, they should ease into it “just because we still don’t know a lot about the effects of COVID on the heart.”

Because children often don't get symptoms from COVID-19, parents watch out for children complaining about chest pain or shortness of breath.

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