Though initially children were believed to be asymptomatic to COVID-19, however, recent studies show the possible connection of COVID-19 in children and it is serious implications. Reports suggest a rare serious health condition in children namely, Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) and its link with COVID-19. The surging cases of PMIS in many parts of the U.S and Europe have tragically caused three fatalities in the New York State alone along with 102 new reported cases. Most of these cases tested positive for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines on the probable symptoms of the multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children. Besides, it is urging clinicians to report suspected cases as early as possible. While this illness is rare, seeking proper care of your child is necessary if they develop any symptom.
Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS)
Unlike COVID-19 which causes a respiratory problem, PMIS affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease that causes inflammation of coronary arteries which supply blood and nutrients to the heart. Kawasaki disease mostly affects children under the age of five. When children develop PMIS, the virus triggers the immune system to overreact, causing inflammation throughout the body which can also lead to organ failure.
Children with COVID-19 associated with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome experienced persistent fever, inflammation, and poor function of an organ. There appears a temporal relationship of COVID-19 with kids as some kids test positive while others have antibodies to it. That is, they were infected by it even they didn’t show any symptoms. Fortunately, with early and proper medical care the PMIS disease is preventable.
Symptoms of PMIS
The PMIS has been infecting children and adolescents 0-19 years old. With the likeliness of Kawasaki Disease, pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) has some similar symptoms. In case if you notice any of these possible symptoms, consult your pediatrician right away.
The children with PMIS may experience symptoms like:
- Prolonged fever more than 24 hours
- Severe abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- A rash or change in skin color (pale and blue)
- Trouble in breathing
- Irritability or confusion
- Conjunctivitis (red or pink eyes)
- Swollen hands and feet
- A bright red tongue and cracked lips
- Difficulty in feeding infants
- Enlarged lymph node “gland” on one side of the neck
If your child had been exposed to COVID-19 virus or has tested positive for COVID-19, make sure you brief your pediatrician regarding the same. Therefore, it is necessary to keep precautionary measures like good hygiene (washing hands, avoid touching face, nose, mouth), face-covering, and maintaining social distancing (at least six feet apart).
The typical treatment involves using blood thinners, aspirins, intravenous immunoglobulin (a mixture of antibodies from blood donors) when the inflammation occurs. With early and proper care, this Kawasaki disease like illness is treatable and most children recover without serious problems.
The children with immunodeficiency, any underlying health condition, or those who have undergone chemotherapy are more vulnerable to complications if they get. So, parents should be more vigilant for any concerning symptoms of PMIS.
The current probability of COVID-19 in children is moderate and the overall risk of COVID-19 in children assessed is low. While the Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in children sounds frightening, but children are less severe with COVID-19 because they are healthy and young with a robust immune system. Moreover, the best thing you have do is call your pediatrician for an evaluation if you have any concerns regarding your kid’s health.