Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children (MIS-C)

Although COVID-19 is generally mild in children, some children experience serious consequences. A serious complication of COVID-19 in children is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), an inflammatory syndrome that manifests itself 2 weeks or more after infection with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease COVID-19). 19 caused) developed. .

The good news is that MIS-C is treatable and children usually make a full recovery. Still, MIS-C sometimes requires immediate medical attention emergency care. For this reason, it’s important that parents and caregivers are informed about what MIS-C looks like in children, how to get a diagnosis, what to know about treatments, and how to prevent it.

MIS-C is a constellation of inflammatory symptoms that children — including infants, teens, and young adults — can develop within a few weeks of COVID-19. MIS-C normally affects multiple organs in the body, including the skin (causing a rash), gastrointestinal system, heart, lungs, eyes and brain.

Children usually develop MIS-C about 2 to 6 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection. This means that COVID-19 is the main factor behind the development of MIS-C.

Children with MIS-C are usually either positive for SARS-CoV-2 or positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies on testing. Some parents know that their children have recently had or been exposed to COVID-19. Still, some children may not have symptoms but show recent exposure through antibody testing.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 98% of children with MIS-C had a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2. The 2% who have not previously had close contact with anyone with COVID-19.

Symptoms of MIS-C vary from child to child, but MIS-C usually includes fever for at least 24 hours, along with inflammatory symptoms in multiple body organs and organ systems. Symptoms of inflammation in your child may be:

  • skin
  • lung
  • digestive tract
  • Brain
  • kidneys
  • heart
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These symptoms can look like this:

  • a rash on her skin
  • bloodshot eyes
  • diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • feel dizzy
  • lethargy

If you observe any of these symptoms, it is important to call a pediatrician immediately. If you know your child has recently had COVID-19, be sure to share that information. Your child’s pediatrician will inform you about the next steps.

Experts aren’t sure what exactly causes MIS-C. One theory is that MIS-C is an exaggerated immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Anytime someone has a virus, their immune system reacts, but certain children may have a more intense and delayed response to the virus, causing inflammation in multiple body systems. Regardless of the exact cause, we know that MIS-C is related to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

If you notice any symptoms of MIS-C, you should contact a pediatrician immediately. Only a doctor can diagnose MIS-C in your child.

There are certain criteria that a healthcare professional will use to formally diagnose your child with MIS-C. Your child could be diagnosed MIS-C if they:

  • are under 21 years old
  • have fever
  • have inflammation in multiple organs
  • are currently positive for SARS-CoV-2, have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies or know that they have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the last 4 weeks

Your child’s pediatrician may perform certain exams or tests to diagnose your child with MIS-C. This can include:

  • blood tests
  • urine tests
  • Ultrasound of your child’s abdomen
  • X-rays of your child’s chest
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) or ultrasound of your child’s heart
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The majority of children with MIS-C require hospital treatment. Different treatment methods are used depending on how MIS-C affects your child.

This can include:

  • steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Immune system antibodies given intravenously
  • heart medication

Even if your child gets better and is discharged from the hospital, they will still need to be monitored for a few months. For example, they may need to see a cardiologist to monitor how their heart is recovering after MIS-C. Children who have been treated with steroids or immune system antibodies may also need medical follow-up.

Although rare, MIS-C is a serious condition that should be avoided whenever possible.

In addition to minimizing your child’s chance of contracting SARS-CoV-2 through practices such as hand washing, physical or social distancing, and wearing masks during times of high COVID-19 prevalence, the most effective way is to protect your child from MIS-C to have them vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.

Research has found that the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine protects against MIS-C even if your child becomes infected with SARS-CoV-2. For example, Research from the CDC found that two shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 18 reduced the likelihood of getting MIS-C by 91%. Among the teenagers who were critically ill with MIS-C, all were unvaccinated.

MIS-C can affect any child recently infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, certain people might be more likely to suffer from MIS-C than others. Risk factors that put children at higher risk of MIS-C include:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents can rest assured that MIS-C is rare and that the majority of children do well with supportive care. Still, recovery can be slow for some children, and some will require care for several months after leaving the hospital.

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If your child’s heart walls are inflamed (a condition called myocarditis), they may not be able to exercise or participate in other aerobic activities for several months.

As the CDC Notes, the majority of children with MIS-C are mostly symptom-free about 1 year after diagnosis. Still, children whose organs become inflamed during MIS-C may take around 6 months to recover. They may also experience symptoms such as exhaustion, anxiety, and neurological problems.

Can my child receive a COVID-19 vaccine after MIS-C?

COVID-19 vaccines are one of the best ways to prevent severe SARS-CoV-2 infection and MIS-C. The AAP recommends waiting approximately 90 days after MIS-C diagnosis to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

How common is MIS-C in children?

Fortunately, MIS-C is rare in children who contract SARS-CoV-2. show CDC data that about 1 in 3,000 children and 1 in 4,000 teenagers who get SARS-CoV-2 will develop MIS-C.

Is MIS-C Ever Fatal?

MIS-C is initially rare and most children recover with proper treatment. Tragically, however, MIS-C was the cause of death in some children. According to CDC data from August 2022, of the approximately 8,862 recorded cases of people with MIS-C, 72 children have died.

Learning about the seriousness of MIS-C can be disconcerting. Remember that MIS-C is uncommon and cases are usually treatable.

You can protect your child from MIS-C by getting vaccinated, learning about the symptoms, and seeking medical attention if you think your child has MIS-C.

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