An alarming new study outlined by pediatrician Rita Banerjee in the Knowridge Science Report warns parents to assess children closely weeks after infection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus to ensure they don’t develop these deadly new symptoms. If a child shows any signs of difficulty breathing, severe abdominal pain, chest pain or pressure, bloodshot eyes or blue-tinted lips it’s time to rush them to the hospital immediately. These symptoms could be a sign of a new complication that can arise in children as young as 8 years old post-COVID-19 contraction.
Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, attacks myriad systems and organs in a child’s body including the heart, lungs, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal system. What exactly is MIS-C? The study elaborates on why exactly this disease attacks multiple systems here.
“MIS-C appears to be caused by dysregulation of the immune system, in which the body’s immune response gets out of control and harms the body itself. Doctors and scientists are trying to figure out why this happens.”
Banerjee, the pediatrician who specializes in infectious disease who has been monitoring these case studies closely, adds
“They typically will have signs of inflammation, and some will have a decrease in the white blood cells called lymphocytes that protect the body from infection. Hyper inflammation can affect multiple organs at the same time. More than 70% of patients who are hospitalized are in the ICU, and about a quarter of those needed equipment to help keep their hearts and lungs functioning.”
Which demographics are at higher risk for MIS-C?
According to the study, 790 U.S. cases had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of September and 16 of those children have died. This rare but deadly disease has been found to be far more prevalent in minority demographics and here’s why:
“Racial and ethnic minorities are overrepresented among the children who have developed MIS-C in the U.S. and Europe. This may be because some groups have genetic factors that predispose them to the illness. However, social and demographic factors likely play a large role in this disparity. Racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to be front-line workers who are not able to work from home or social distance at work, and therefore are more likely to get COVID-19 and transmit it to their household members, including children.”
It also doesn’t help that five times the amount of Black and Hispanic United States residents were hospitalized for Covid-19 compared to their white counterparts.
This disease also tends to affect elementary school-aged children with a median age of 8 years old more than a toddler or teenaged patients. Some of these children were found to be asymptomatic when infected with SARS-CoV-2 but developed a rash, fever, gastrointestinal distress and other symptoms two to four weeks after recovering from what seemed to be an extremely mild case of Covid-19.
“A review of 662 MIS-C cases highlighted some of the most common. Fever appeared in 100% of the studied cases.”
At any sign of a spike in fever, even after your child has recovered from Covid-19, pediatricians urge parents to take their child to be examined as soon as possible to weigh out any chance that those symptoms aren’t anything more serious.
Treatment and prevention of MISC-2
So what are doctors and caregivers doing to treat and prevent this secondary infection from harming children? If a child exhibits troubling flu-like symptoms, chest pain and pressure or blue-tinted lips or faces a trip to the E.R. is your best bet for rapid treatment. Such treatments are as follows:
- Intravenous immunoglobulin – a blood product with antibodies that suppresses the immune response
- Aspirin and steroids, which are also used to treat Kawasaki disease.
- Blood thinners, medicines to support blood pressure, and other medicines to dampen the immune response.
Doctors also suggest children with pre-existing heart problems make an appointment to be monitored by a cardiologist as well.
What we can do as a community
We can also ensure the safety of our children as a community by social distancing, wearing masks, washing our hands often and ensuring our schools meet proper safety protocols before reopening to the public. We must cooperate and come together to protect each other from pandemic related fallout. Together, we can get through this thing.