If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you’ve probably heard about an illness called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) that’s affecting children who have had COVID-19. Doctors and researchers are still trying to learn about this disease, but here’s what we know so far.

Symptoms of MIS-C

MIS-C is a condition in which different body parts become inflamed, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, gastrointestinal tract, skin or eyes. Children with MIS-C can have a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck Pain
  • Rash
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Feeling Extra Tired

If your child experiences the following more severe versions of MIS-C symptoms, you should seek emergency care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin
  • Severe abdominal pain

What causes MIS-C?

We do not yet know what causes MIS-C, however many children with MIS-C have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  We also don’t know if children with certain health conditions are more likely to get MIS-C than others. Fortunately, unlike COVID-19, MIS-C does not appear to be contagious. MIS-C is also a relatively rare condition – less than 10 percent of patients that test positive for COVID-19 contract MIS-C.

The link between MIS-C and COVID-19 is evolving every day, and pediatricians and researchers at Children’s National Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are working tirelessly to understand its current and long-term effects on children. For additional information, please visit the CDC page on MIS-C.

While MIS-C is a serious condition, with proper medical care most children are able to recover. If you have concerns your child is suffering from MIS-C, please call your primary care provider.

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