Social media and blog posts are being used by children's hospitals to help educate parents and the community about MIS-C, the inflammatory syndrome linked to the coronavirus.
Dr. Negar Ashouri is a pediatric infectious disease specialist. It's her job to take care of kids who have severe infections. At Children's Hospital Of Orange County in Southern California, she's the one they call when things are significant, or out of the ordinary.
“We are seeing a lot of kids that come in with prolonged fevers and elevated inflammatory markers there was a time when everyone was social distancing and staying at home that the census was low and we weren’t seeing the usual run of the mill infections.” Ashouri said.
Now that things have "opened up" in California, as they have in many states across the nation, they're seeing more sick kids. And they're watching, testing and screening a lot of them.
“MIS-C is a multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children that has been temporarily associated with the coronavirus outbreak and these kids tend to be sicker kids with significant inflammatory processes going on,” Ashouri said.
The symptoms are persistent fevers, severe stomach pains, trouble breathing, chest pain and rashes. As kids get sick, they often have symptoms even if they're less severe. So, how do you typify and discern whether it's related to the coronavirus?
“That’s something that we grapple with as well here because kids gets fevers and rashes and it’s common and not every rash and every fever will be coronavirus and not every rash or fever will be MIS-C for sure,” Ashouri said.
They focus on the science and data, blood work, extensive evaluations, and screenings.
“There’s a lot of information out there and you have to be careful about what you take in and listen to- kids are going to get fevers, they’re going to get rashes, not every rash and fever is going to be related to COVID,” Ashouri said.
Which is why they're putting out as much information as they can. You may even see hospital sponsored posts in your social media feeds. Children's Hospital Orange County featured this post on their official blog- answering questions about MIS-C.
“We try and be a resource for the community and present information that is trustworthy that is based on science and fact- because if you look at coronavirus right now there is a lot of information that is not based on fact but on opinion and that’s very scary,” Ashouri said.
From what we know so far, MIS-C is an inflammatory response to the virus. It illicits some sort of immune response, and you don't have to test positive for the virus at the time. It's likely from a prior COVID-19 infection, which then manifests into MIS-C. While most kids are doing well and have mild cases, if your child gets sick, it's important to see a doctor.
“Kids who have the MIS-C are generally pretty sick and it’s important for them to be taken care of in a facility like CHOC - a children’s hospital where you have a multi-disciplinary group of people,” Ashouri said.