Understanding MIS-C and its long-term effects on children
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) is a disease seen in children who have been infected with COVID-19. Anna-Kathryn Burch, MD, explained the symptoms, treatment and long-term effects of the disease.
“MIS-C is an inflammatory response to COVID-19 that typically occurs in older school aged children 2–3 weeks after being infected with the virus. It can also affect older teens ages 17–20 who may be outside the pediatric grouping,” said Dr. Burch.
What are the symptoms of MIS-C?
- High fever
- Red eyes
- Not feeling well
- Decreased energy
- Decreased appetite
“While MIS-C is a disease that occurs after a COVID-19 infection, it is possible that your child could have experienced an asymptomatic COVID-19 infection leaving you unaware that MIS-C is a possibility. It is important that if your child experiences any of these symptoms that you talk to their pediatrician. If children have a fever for days and their symptoms are not going away, please call your pediatrician. The hallmark sign of this disease is a fever and red eyes,” said Dr. Burch.
What is the treatment for MIS-C?
All children who have MIS-C should be admitted to the hospital. Treatment is intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) given through an actual IV. Patients are typically treated with steroids and aspirin as well. These medications help decrease the amount of inflammation in the body. “The rare few that are sicker may need to be in the intensive care unit (ICU) and get other therapies as well,” said Dr. Burch.
What are the long-term effects of having MIS-C?
“We are still learning about this disease and the data being accumulated as it is a brand new disease to the pediatric world. It is important to know and understand that most kids who are infected with this disease are normal, healthy kids,” said Dr. Burch.
How can parents protect their children from MIS-C?
Dr. Burch said MIS-C occurs after a COVID-19 infection, so it is important to follow the basic safety precautions against COVID-19. “Remember to wear a mask, social distance and practice good hand hygiene. The less COVID-19, the less MIS-C. The more COVID-19, the more MIS-C. When it is your turn to get the vaccine, I urge you to get it to protect yourself, your children and everyone around you. The vaccine along with masking, social distancing and practicing hand hygiene is the best way we can all protect each other during this pandemic,” she said.