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Coronavirus and Children: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children

Aug 20, 2020, 13:34 PM
Children can be infected with COVID-19 without being sick and then weeks later develop severe symptoms. This is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

By Erin Charles, MD,
Pediatric Hospitalist Skagit Regional Health, in partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital

We have all been hearing about COVID-19 and how it mostly affects adults. What about our children? While in general, children have not been as sick with COVID-19 as adults, there are pediatric patients who have had COVID-19. Children can also be infected with COVID-19 without being sick and then weeks later develop severe symptoms. A small number of children have developed a serious illness which may be linked to COVID-19. This is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

What is MIS-C?

Sick boy with thermometer

MIS-C is a very rare condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, such as abdominal (belly) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or feeling extra tired. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, many children with MIS-C have had COVID-19 or had been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Early studies suggest that MIS-C may involve how the body’s immune system reacts to the virus. The body’s defense system may overreact and cause harm to the body it is trying to protect.

MIS-C may be part of a disease spectrum including Kawasaki Disease, which also may affect the heart and cause a rash and high fever, among other problems. Kawasaki Disease typically affects children younger than age 5 while MIS-C has been seen in patients aged 6 months to 21 years. The most common age of MIS-C is 8 years. Children with MIS-C are admitted to a children’s hospital with multispecialty care and a pediatric intensive care unit (ICU). There are several kinds of treatments, and most children recover.

At Skagit Regional Health, the pediatricians working at Skagit Valley Hospital are part of the Regional Hospital Medicine Program at Seattle Children’s. Skagit’s Pediatric Hospitalist Team works closely with Seattle Children’s, just as pediatricians in our community have for decades.

The Pediatric Team at Skagit Regional Health and Seattle Children’s are prepared to care for children with MIS-C. Experts at Seattle Children’s have created guidelines to help diagnose and treat our patients who may have MIS-C. If a child needs to be transferred to Seattle Children’s, the Emergency Medicine and Transport Communication Center connects us quickly to the intensive care and transport teams to ensure our patients are transferred swiftly and safely.

Contact your child’s doctor, nurse or clinic right away if your child has symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, fatigue or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

If your child has trouble breathing, severe pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or sleepiness, bluish lips or face, or severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, go to the Emergency Room or call 911. Your child should be evaluated for MIS-C and other severe conditions.

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162 posts

Last post : 09/17/2020

Coronavirus and Children: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children

Aug 20, 2020, 13:34 PM
Children can be infected with COVID-19 without being sick and then weeks later develop severe symptoms. This is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

By Erin Charles, MD,
Pediatric Hospitalist Skagit Regional Health, in partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital

We have all been hearing about COVID-19 and how it mostly affects adults. What about our children? While in general, children have not been as sick with COVID-19 as adults, there are pediatric patients who have had COVID-19. Children can also be infected with COVID-19 without being sick and then weeks later develop severe symptoms. A small number of children have developed a serious illness which may be linked to COVID-19. This is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

What is MIS-C?

Sick boy with thermometer

MIS-C is a very rare condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, such as abdominal (belly) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or feeling extra tired. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, many children with MIS-C have had COVID-19 or had been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Early studies suggest that MIS-C may involve how the body’s immune system reacts to the virus. The body’s defense system may overreact and cause harm to the body it is trying to protect.

MIS-C may be part of a disease spectrum including Kawasaki Disease, which also may affect the heart and cause a rash and high fever, among other problems. Kawasaki Disease typically affects children younger than age 5 while MIS-C has been seen in patients aged 6 months to 21 years. The most common age of MIS-C is 8 years. Children with MIS-C are admitted to a children’s hospital with multispecialty care and a pediatric intensive care unit (ICU). There are several kinds of treatments, and most children recover.

At Skagit Regional Health, the pediatricians working at Skagit Valley Hospital are part of the Regional Hospital Medicine Program at Seattle Children’s. Skagit’s Pediatric Hospitalist Team works closely with Seattle Children’s, just as pediatricians in our community have for decades.

The Pediatric Team at Skagit Regional Health and Seattle Children’s are prepared to care for children with MIS-C. Experts at Seattle Children’s have created guidelines to help diagnose and treat our patients who may have MIS-C. If a child needs to be transferred to Seattle Children’s, the Emergency Medicine and Transport Communication Center connects us quickly to the intensive care and transport teams to ensure our patients are transferred swiftly and safely.

Contact your child’s doctor, nurse or clinic right away if your child has symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, fatigue or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

If your child has trouble breathing, severe pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or sleepiness, bluish lips or face, or severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, go to the Emergency Room or call 911. Your child should be evaluated for MIS-C and other severe conditions.