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Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children

Widespread inflammation and acute complications 

With the coronavirus outbreak, studies indicated that the effect of this virus is less harmful on children, and the symptoms are often mild in this age group. However, some children later developed a rare but serious medical condition, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19, after many countries reported this condition after recovering from the virus.

What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children? What are its symptoms? Why does it appear weeks after recovering from the coronavirus?

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19.

In such a situation, the child needs emergency medical intervention to obtain the necessary medical care because the condition is dangerous and the consequences may be severe. Scientists have found that most children who contract the coronavirus show mild or no symptoms, and rarely develop serious complications from the disease. However, some of them may end up developing severe complications from an abnormal immune system reaction but after recovering from the virus.

The cause of MIS-C is not yet fully understood. Some researchers suspect that MIS-C is caused by a delayed immune response to the coronavirus causing inflammation that damages organs. It’s also possible that the antibodies children make to the virus are creating the immune reaction. Since only a small number of children develop MIS-C, it is possible that there are genetic factors that make some children susceptible. It is important to remember that overall, children fare very well with COVID-19 as compared to adults. Only a small number of children seem to develop signs and symptoms of MIS-C, and most have recovered quickly.

Symptoms and Treatment

Signs and symptoms of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) may include fever that lasts 24 hours or longer, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, skin rash, feeling unusually tired, fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, red eyes, redness or swelling of the lips and tongue, redness or swelling of the hands or feet, headache, dizziness or lightheadedness and enlarged lymph nodes.

These symptoms may include, but are not limited to, an elevated CRP, ESR, fibrinogen, procalcitonin. Most affected children will need to be admitted to hospital, and some may require to stay in the ICU. The treatment of this syndrome aims to reduce the inflammatory symptoms, and based on the child’s condition, he will receive anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate these symptoms and protect the affected internal organs from any damage or permanent harm.

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