While both adults and children can get COVID-19, healthy children seem to be less affected, have milder symptoms and recover quicker. While this continues to be true, there has been a recent increase in young patients with exposure to COVID-19 who later develop a unique set of symptoms. This prompted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to issue a health alert.
This condition, while extremely rare, causes body parts to become inflamed and blood vessels to enlarge. It is being referred to as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
What are the signs and symptoms of MIS-C?
The main thing to watch for is a fever lasting for several days, rash, red eyes, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. If you see any of these symptoms or suspect your child has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, contact your pediatrician immediately. Be aware that not all children will have the same symptoms.
Is this Kawasaki disease?
While MIS-C can have similar symptoms to Kawasaki disease, it is important to note they are not the same and should be treated differently.
What causes MIS-C?
The cause is not yet fully understood and is being researched. It appears to be a delayed immune system response in someone who had the COVID-19 virus. This means your child does not have active COVID-19 but did at some time and their body’s immune system fought it off. You might not have even realized they were sick. MIS-C often happens weeks later.
How is MIS-C diagnosed?
MIS-C is diagnosed based on symptoms (persistent fever, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms). Children will also most likely have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with the virus during the past four weeks. Doctors may do certain tests to look for inflammation or other signs of the disease. These tests might include:
How is MIS-C treated?
Children diagnosed with MIS-C will be closely monitored. Some children will need to be admitted to the hospital. Our team of pediatric specialists will work together to address your child’s needs.
When should I call for care?
Anytime you have concerns about your child’s health, please contact your child’s pediatrician by phone, MyChart or a Care Anywhere visit. If your child has been exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19 and shows any of the above symptoms, you should call immediately.