COVID-19: What is MIS-C in children? Why is it a concern

Hyderabad: MIS-C is a syndrome (a constellation of symptoms and signs) which is being increasingly observed among children ranging from newborn to 21 years of age, since the COVID-19 pandemic started. This MIS-C can result in serious complications and death if not recognized early.

Much remains to be learnt about why it occurs and how it occurs, but it is very crucial for parents to be aware of it and for parents to be quick in reaching out to the doctor as soon as they suspect it.

Dr Sivaranjani Santosh is the chief consultant pediatrician in Hyderabad and she has said that every pediatrician is seeing more and more of children getting affected with MIS-C with each day. The number of PICU admissions is increasing, paralleling the peak of COVID in the general population. It is of utmost importance for the government to gear up the pediatric hospitals and pediatric intensive care units with the necessary medicines and equipment.

Most of the children who develop MIS-C either had COVID-19 or had been around someone who had contracted the virus, especially in the four weeks preceding the illness.

This MIS-C causes inflammation in multiple organs, be it the brain, heart, blood vessels, abdomen, kidneys or skin. This can result in just an innocuous fever, or can result in the blood vessels of the heart getting affected (resulting in a risk of heart attack), the heart failing to work, shock, multiple organs failing, and death.

It is important for parents to suspect MIS-C and reach out to the doctor if there is a fever (above 38 degrees centigrade) lasting longer than 24 to 72 hours and there is a rash on the body/peeling of skin of the tips of the fingers/neck pain or swelling/fiery red eyes or strawberry like red tongue/abdominal pain/vomiting/diarrhea/fatigue. It’s crucial for the parents to take the child to the emergency if the child is drowsy, lethargic, confused, has trouble breathing, complains of pain or pressure in the chest, complains of severe abdominal pain, has seizures, or has pale or gray or blue lips, skin or nail beds.

 The doctors are likely to order blood tests to check the severity of inflammation, blood clotting parameters,  antibodies to SARS CoV2, and to rule out infections. They may order scans of the heart and abdomen. They may ask for X rays and CT scans as needed.

What can parents do to prevent COVID-19 related complications and MIS-C?

Parents need to have a good understanding about COVID and MIS-C, and need to follow all COVID precautions diligently, and get their children vaccinated as and when the vaccine becomes available for children.

What can the government do?

Enforce COVID precautions strictly.

Take COVID care door to door with the help of health care workers, and Volunteer groups who would help the families with monitoring oxygen levels, triaging and referring to the hospital, ensuring the completion of isolation and quarantine periods as per the ICMR guidelines irrespective of a follow up negative PCR report, and providing them with the medicines and essentials (this would reduce the community spread drastically).

About Dr Sivaranjani:

She has done her MBBS and MD pediatrics from  JIPMER. She was consultant Pediatrics at Apollo, developed and headed pediatrics at The Birthplace and Maxcure Suyosha. She is very passionate about preventive pediatrics, FIRST AID awareness, parent education programmes,encouraging and supporting moms for breast feeding, and helping new parents through the early days of parenthood. Through her You Tube channel Dr. Sivaranjani’s Easy Health, she is working strongly towards empowering our people with the knowledge about FIRST AID and the ability to handle emergencies.

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