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Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome Children (MIS-C)
While COVID-19 is more likely to cause severe illness in adults, it can also affect children. For children, the symptoms can be like what adults may experience – fever, loss of smell, headaches, muscle aches, cough, fatigue, and gastrointestinal upset. Most children will recover with supportive care at home. Unfortunately, some pediatric patients will experience symptoms similar to “long COVID syndrome” where they have months of prolonged fatigue, shortness of breath, and decreased executive function (brain fog).
Although rare, one of the most concerning results of COVID-19 infection is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C. Simply put, MIS-C means that many organs of the body, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin, and glands become inflamed. The COVID-19 virus sets off a delayed but exaggerated immune response in children as their body tries to fight the disease, resulting in more severe illness.
In Tennessee, there have been 196 confirmed cases of MIS-C as of 10/5/2021. Almost half of those cases (45%) have been admitted to the ICU, with an average ICU stay of 4 days. MIS-C tends to appear about 4-6 weeks after initial COVID-19infection. Sometimes, families were never aware that their child had an initial COVID-19 infection. While extremely rare, MIS-C is a serious disease, and parents should be aware of the possible symptoms.
Symptoms of MIS-C include:
More severe cases of MIS-C can have:
If your child has had high fevers that lasts several days without explanation and you are worried that they have MIS-C, DO NOT DELAY. Seek evaluation with your pediatrician or other health care provider immediately. This is an emergency diagnosis that requires expert-level care in a hospital. Treatment for MIS-C often includes medications like steroids and intravenous antibodies that decrease the body’s exaggerated immune response. Other treatment goals are to reduce fever and improve organ function (especially the heart and kidneys). Some children with MIS-C will require monitoring and care by special doctors, even after leaving the hospital.
You can lower your child’s risk of contracting COVID-19 and MIS-C by using several measures:
All Tennesseans age 12 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, free of charge. Here’s how to get your COVID-19 vaccine:
Small, common-sense steps together can create big changes for all Tennesseans and their neighbors.