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Coronavirus: What You Should Know About MIS-C

By: Rachel Sine, MD

In hopes to get your family the most accurate information, we updated this post on February 17, 2021…

Adding to the stress and anxiety that the COVID-19 pandemic brings to all of our lives, several cases of MIS-C have been confirmed in our beloved state of South Carolina. And, as of February 1st, there have been over 2,000 cases in children nationwide. Hearing this can feel debilitating and overwhelming, but here at Parkside, we believe knowledge is power. Read along for what we now know about this syndrome, its relation to the coronavirus, and how the condition can be treated.

What Actually is MIS-C?

MIS-C, or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, is thought to be an inflammatory reaction that happens 2-4 weeks after a COVID-19 infection (more on this below). MIS-C resembles a known condition called Kawasaki Disease, but it is not the same. MIS-C is thought to be an abnormal immune response to the virus that causes inflammation in the vital organs (think heart, kidneys, brain etc.). Obviously, inflammation in the vital organs is not ideal and can cause serious damage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), cases of MIS-C have occured in children from >1 yr. old to 20 yrs. old. And, based on their reports received, “Most cases were in children and adolescents between the ages of 1 and 14 years, with a median age of 9 years.”

There is some good news in that MIS-C is extremely rare. As stated above, the United States has seen a little over 2,000 cases of this syndrome as of February 1st. When you compare that number to the amount of children who have reportedly had COVID and/or been exposed to it, the percentage of children developing MIS-C is quite small.

So, while thankfully the chances of your child developing this condition are minimal, it is important to educate yourself about the symptoms, causes, and preventative measures as the syndrome can be severe, particularly when it goes untreated. Again, knowledge is power.

How is MIS-C Related to the Coronavirus?

While we cannot say without a shadow of a doubt that MIS-C is caused by COVID-19, most doctors do believe there is a STRONG correlation. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP,  a patient who is suspected to have MIS-C, should also be “under investigation for COVID-19” and an anti-body test should be conducted if available.

It is important to note that the initial possible infection of COVID-19 does not have to have been severe for a child to later develop MIS-C. In fact, MIS-C can occur in patients that were even asymptomatic  with Covid.

What To Look For

If your child has a fever for more than 24 hrs. and one of the following symptoms, they need to be evaluated…

  •  Red rash
  •  Red, cracked lips
  •  Red, blood shot eyes
  •  Abdominal pain
  •  Swelling of hands or feet
  •  Unusual weakness or fatigue
Preventative Measures

Again, MIS-C is exceedingly rare. Very rare. But, based on our current knowledge, the best way to prevent your little one from developing it is to avoid the novel coronavirus. Stay at home when possible, social distance when you are out in public, help your child wear a cloth face mask, and make hand washing your family’s new favorite hobby.


Another piece of good news surrounding this syndrome is that if children are seen early on and assessed correctly, treatments are working! Anti-inflammatory treatments (think steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin, or IVIG) have proven very effective in protecting organs from long-lasting damage.

What to Do

As stated previously, if your child has a fever for more than 24 hrs. and has one of the symptoms from the list above, or if they have had a fever for more than 72 hrs. with no symptoms, call us for an appointment. In the rare case that your child is thought to have MIS-C, they will likely be hospitalized for the appropriate treatment.

***Please note: If your child is having trouble breathing, has a blue-ish tint to their lips or face, or cannot be woken up easily, we recommend you call 911 immediately.***

We know these are strange times to be living in and even stranger times to be raising a family. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any and all questions surrounding MIS-C or COVID-19. We are here for you.

Until next time,

Dr. Rachel Sine

Parkside Provider, part time photographer, and dedicated foodie

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