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What We Know About the Novel Coronavirus-Related Syndrome in Children

July 16, 2020 • Our Blog • General Health
A new, rare syndrome that appears to be related to the novel coronavirus has been appearing in children in the United States and abroad. While it remains true that COVID-19 is typically mild or asymptomatic in children, a new syndrome that appears to be linked to the virus has caused understandable concern among families. Thus far, the vast majority of children who have developed the syndrome have tested positive for either the novel coronavirus or viral antibodies. As of late May, the syndrome had appeared in children in about half of the U.S. states, and the number of confirmed cases continues to rise. The multisystem inflammatory syndrome appears to be similar in nature to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, but it’s currently believed to be a new and unique condition. Symptoms — and their severity — vary greatly. While little is known about the condition, it is important for parents to read up on the condition in order to understand how to keep their children safe.

What We Know About MIS-C

The new condition, which the CDC has dubbed “multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children” (MIS-C), seems to challenge the previous assumption that COVID-19 is far less serious in children than in adults. There is still a strong consensus that children get sick from the novel coronavirus much less frequently than adults do and that children spread the disease less easily than adults do. However, as the pandemic has progressed, doctors have begun to see surprising clusters of severe pediatric cases of COVID-19. While these children have tested positive for either the virus or its antibodies, their symptoms haven’t matched those expected from COVID-19. Because many of these children have tested positive for antibodies — meaning they had the virus several weeks prior — researchers believe the new syndrome is the body’s delayed reaction to the infection. Symptoms vary widely, but doctors have observed persistent fever, skin rash, red eyes, low blood pressure, inflammation, pale or blue lips and skin, difficulty breathing, fever, and fatigue. In the most severe cases, blood clots, chest pain, elevated heart rate, cardiac arrest, or organ failure have been observed. Little else is known about the condition, but experts agree that it requires immediate medical attention.

Keeping Your Child Safe from MIS-C

MIS-C is very rare, and parents shouldn’t be overly concerned about their child’s risk. That said, it’s wise to be aware of the possible signs and symptoms of the condition in order to act quickly should your child begin to display them. However, because so little is known about the condition, it’s imperative that parents take care to prevent their children from contracting the novel coronavirus. The CDC has extensive guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, which include frequent hand-washing, social distancing, and wearing a mask in public. To learn more about preventing COVID-19, or if you have any questions about the new virus-related pediatric syndrome, reach out to Kids’ Health. Our pediatricians understand that this is a frightening time for children and parents alike, and we would be happy to talk to you about any of your concerns.  ...