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This Month In Health
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  • Kids and COVID
    Scientists have now uncovered the risk of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children and teens ages 2 to 15. Abbreviated MIS-C, this condition can be serious, but it’s also quite rare. Here’s what to watch for in your children and what a MIS-C diagnosis means. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Kids and COVID

Children and teens with COVID are at risk for a rare but serious condition known as multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIC-S).

As if you don’t already have enough to worry about during the pandemic, scientists have now uncovered the risk of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children and teens ages 2 to 15. Abbreviated MIS-C, this condition can be serious, but it’s also quite rare. Specialists and scientists around the world are working together to learn more about this scary disease and how best to treat it.

The good news is that COVID rarely causes serious illness in young people and most who develop MIS-C can expect a full recovery with proper medical care. But it’s still smart to be cautious. Here’s what to watch for in your children and what a MIS-C diagnosis means.

Inflammation

Inflammation can be a good thing when used by your immune system to fight off illness. Unfortunately, sometimes inflammation occurs for the wrong reasons and can wreak havoc on your body’s systems. With MIS-C, inflammation can affect some or all internal organs, including the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, skin, eyes, and intestines, causing serious illness.

Sick children should be closely monitored for symptoms of a severe COVID-19 infection and for MIS-C. Not all children with MIS-C will have the same symptoms, but call your pediatrician if your child or teenager has a fever that lasts longer than three days, neck pain, rash, fatigue, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, swollen hands or feet, or bloodshot eyes. Seek immediate medical attention if they have difficulty breathing, confusion, chest pain, trouble staying awake, or bluish lips.

Is It Caused by COVID?

The exaggerated inflammatory response may be caused by the presence of the coronavirus. Tell your pediatrician if your child has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus in the past month. The exact cause of MIS-C is unknown, but many of the children with the condition have had COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has. A few cases haven’t been traced back to the coronavirus or occur in kids who never exhibited typical COVID-19 symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, or fever.

Why some kids develop the disease and others don’t is still unknown. An underlying health condition may increase their risk, but what that condition is has yet to be determined. Some children may have a genetic predisposition that causes an overactive immune response, without any other underlying health condition.

Seek Medical Care

The earlier MIS-C is diagnosed and treated, the better. The syndrome typically develops within four weeks of exposure to the virus. If you’re ever in doubt of your child’s condition, call your pediatrician. Blood tests, heart ultrasounds, chest x-rays, and abdominal ultrasounds are used to diagnose MIS-C. Once diagnosed, a child will need to remain in the hospital or intensive care unit as they are treated with medication and fluids to reduce the inflammation and protect the body’s organs from long-term damage. The overall prognosis of children and teens treated for MIS-C is good.

Prevention

As schools and businesses have reopened, the risk of children contracting the virus has increased. It’s important for families to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and avoid exposure. Teach your kids how to wash their hands with soapy water for 20 seconds or to use hand sanitizer. Kids aren’t that good at social distancing, but make sure they stay away from people who are sick and wear a mask when in crowded areas. Keep surfaces in your home clean.

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