Mystery Illness In Children, Possibly Linked To COVID-19, Alarms North Texas Pediatricians – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth



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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – MIS-C is multisystem inflammatory syndrome and it develops in children with COVID-19 days and weeks after infection. With a lot unknown about its long-term impact on ones health, parents are warning others to be on a close lookout.

One day Natalie Torrez was a joyful and playful 4-year old, the next day she was lethargic and fatigued.

Her mother Alyssa Salazar says her illness started with a fever in August. The family wasn’t sure what was going on. They knew she’d been exposed to COVID-19 from a family member a month before.

“She started to become fatigued, and she was, she was like extra tired,” Salazar recalls.

Salazar knew there was a problem when her daughter lay in bed all day and barely ate. “The way my daughter is is she likes to eat junk food, even if she’s sick she wants chocolate milk,” she said.

When she developed rash on her feet, mouth and hands, Salazar knew something was seriously wrong .”She had like almost like a strawberry tongue,” she remembers.

“And then I noticed that her eyes were kind of like bloodshot red so I was like concerning to me”

Back in August, when little Natalie developed the symptoms, not much was known about the illness. Natalie ended up at Cook Children’s ER where doctor’s gave it a name: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. It’s a rare but serious condition caused by the virus.

“What we’re seeing is a child who’s had covid-19, and this can be a mild case even an asymptomatic case all the way up to a very sick child,” said Cook Children’s infectious disease specialist Dr. Nicholas Rister.

“Several weeks later, their immune system has a reaction where it over overreacts, causes generalized inflammation,” he said. “Even though the infection itself is long gone, their body reacts to it, causing lots of symptoms.”

The CDC says at least 23 children have died from complications of MIS-C. Symptoms can be mild and can get worse very quickly. The National Institutes of Health is funding several studies including one which hopes to identify children at a higher risk.

Dr. Rister says it is usually led by fever. “So early on, we’re talking several days of fever typically four to six days, it may start slow but as the fever per get progresses parents will get more worried and then you’ll see more evidence of inflammation,” he said.

Something Alyssa says she noticed as well. She is grateful it was caught in time. She wants all parents to be aware and understand the unknowns of COVID.

“I am speaking out is because there’s two kids here from Texas, that have died from that. And they were about the same age as my daughter. And if, if they were the cases were took too seriously those kids will still be here today,” she said.

What To Do If You Think Your Child Is Sick With MIS-C

Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Feeling extra tired

Be aware that not all children will have all the same symptoms.

Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe abdominal pain

How Doctors Will Care For Your Child

Doctors may do certain tests to look for inflammation or other signs of disease. These tests might include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • Heart ultrasound (echocardiogram)
  • Abdominal ultrasound

Doctors may provide supportive care for symptoms (medicine and/or fluids to make your child feel better) and may use various medicines to treat inflammation. Most children who become ill with MIS-C will need to be treated in the hospital. Some will need to be treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU).

Parents or caregivers who have concerns about their child’s health, including concerns about COVID-19 or MIS-C, should call a pediatrician or other healthcare provider immediately. Healthcare providers can follow CDC recommendations to keep children and their parents or caregivers safe if an in-person visit is needed.

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