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Ask Dr. Nandi: Children are falling ill with a baffling ailment related to COVID-19

New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state
Posted at 6:41 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 11:58:38-04

(WXYZ) — This mysterious illness appears to be related to or linked to the coronavirus as many of the children who are suspected of having this syndrome have either tested positive for the virus or have antibodies in their system.

Now, doctors have given this baffling illness a name, calling it “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.” This ailment popped up in Europe last month and has really only appeared here in the US in the last two weeks. So, unfortunately, there is still a lot we need to learn about it.

But what we do know, is that it causes life-threatening inflammation in children’s blood vessels and organs. It prefers to attack the heart and coronary arteries, rather than the lungs like what we’re seeing in adults. And the kids can end up with low blood pressure. And that’s dangerous because if the heart is not able to pump enough blood, they can end up with toxic shock. And unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening to some of the sickened children.

Parents should watch out for symptoms like persistent fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, red eyes, or a raised rash anywhere on the body.

Now, not all symptoms will be present so if your child starts to not feel well, you should reach out to your family doctor. But, if you think they have this syndrome, then your child needs to be seen by a physician right away. Because early diagnosis and treatment are critical. Otherwise, the child can end up with damage to organs or have long-term complications.

Now, the good news is that doctors are reporting that many of the children are responding well to treatment. And when I say children, that includes older teens all the way down to babies and infants.

Also, while this news is very alarming, I don’t want parents to panic. Right now this pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome is considered to be very rare. But we should be aware of it because we are constantly learning about this very contagious virus. And unfortunately, it’s possible we’ll start to see more children affected in the future, especially as states continue to open back up.

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