5 Questions Answered on Inflammatory Disease Linked to COVID-19 in Children

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MIS-C

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) can be serious -- even deadly -- but most children who are diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care. Here are five questions on this condition for parents and caregivers, with answers from UH Rainbow pediatric infectious disease specialist Amy Edwards, MD.

What is the Inflammatory Condition Linked to COVID-19 in Children?

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a condition in which different organs and body parts can become inflamed, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin eyes or stomach. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who have been diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care.

What Causes MIS-C?

From the beginning, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was suspected as a cause of MIS-C, but there was some uncertainty about the link. However, there is no longer uncertainty around the link between the virus and MIS-C. It's clear that one causes the other.

Is My Child at Risk for MIS-C?

We do not yet understand why, in rare cases, some children have gotten sick with MIS-C and others have not. Until we learn more, we have to assume that all children are at risk.

What Symptoms Should I Watch Out For?

The symptoms of MIS-C can vary but most patients have had a fever for more than one day plus one of these other symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Feeling extra tired

Who Should I Call If I Think My Child Might Have MIS-C?

Call your pediatrician if you think your child might have MIS-C. The pediatrician can ask you some questions and may order a few simple tests that might help them understand whether your child has MIS-C.

Take your child to an emergency department or call 9-1-1 if your child has any emergency warning signs such as:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble waking up
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Signs of dehydration, such as peeing less or having a dry mouth

Related Links

Initial research suggests that fewer children than adults develop fever, cough, or shortness of breath or need hospitalization with COVID-19. However, severe illness has been reported in children with COVID-19 -- most often in infants younger than a year old. Learn more about the impact of coronavirus in children and young adults.

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