Recently, there have been reports of children becoming extremely sick with a multi-system inflammatory syndrome that appears to be associated with COVID-19.
In fact, as of Tuesday, there were 52 confirmed cases in New York City alone. 25 of the children tested positive for COVID-19. 22 had antibodies against it, suggesting they previously had the coronavirus and recovered. One child in the city died from it.
These children appear to have developed a syndrome involving shock or extreme inflammation resembling a rare childhood illness called Kawasaki disease.
This disease usually strikes healthy children. They develop high fever for several days, swollen and bright red lips, redness of the eyes, lips, and tongue, a rash, and swollen hands and feet.
The children who develop the inflammatory syndrome with COVID-19 have been between 5 and 9 years old.
With Kawasaki disease, the vast majority of children do extremely well with treatment, with no long-term bad outcomes. In these cases, it appears that the quicker a parent reports the child having these symptoms, the quicker a physician can help the child recover.
Remember, with COVID-19, children are still much less likely to be severely affected than adults, and mortality is extremely rare. But if your child develops a persistent fever, has a rash, abdominal pain and vomiting, and just seems unwell, and you have a sense as a parent that your child isn’t right, call your pediatrician or family doctor, or go to the hospital.