COVID-19 and Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome

May 14, 2020

Jennifer L. Wehberg, MD, FAAP

COVID-19 and Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome
By: Jennifer Wehberg, MD

Recent news reports have been made connecting COVID-19 with a rare, child-specific health condition called Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (also known as PMIS). The American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC are closely watching this development and scientists around the world are working to understand and treat this syndrome.

Parents should be reassured that most children are not affected by COVID-19, and children who become seriously ill is rare. Some children diagnosed with PMIS have tested positive for COVID-19, while others have not.

Symptoms of PMIS 
Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome has been compared to other rare childhood conditions such as Kawasaki Disease or Toxic Shock Syndrome, but currently, it is thought to be a separate condition. You should call your child’s pediatrician if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • A fever that won’t go away
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rash or changes in skin color
  • Trouble breathing
  • Younger children may not want to drink
  • Your child seems confused or overly sleepy

More studies need to be completed to know the full relationship between COVID-19 and Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in children.

What About COVID-19?
Children with COVID-19 have different symptom presentations and severity than adults. Children with COVID-19 are typically asymptomatic and only found to have the virus after an adult in their household have a known case of COVID-19. When children are symptomatic, signs and symptoms tend to be similar to other viral respiratory infections. A possible explanation as to why children have more mild symptoms than adults is that they tend to have fewer comorbidities (obesity, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, etc.).

 Is it Safe to Take My Child to the Doctor?
The American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging parents to continue with well child visits and immunizations during this time. We care about your child’s health and are taking extra steps to make sure everyone is safe when they come into the office. This includes wearing masks, extra sanitation, separating well visits and sick visits, telemedicine visits, and curbside/vehicle visits. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about your child, especially during this time of uncertainly, all of us at Gateway Pediatrics are here for you!

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