Pediatrician alerts parents to watch out for MIS-C symptoms


HONOLULU (KHON2) — A condition coming from COVID-19 that impacts children is causing a local pediatrician to ask parents to be on the lookout.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C for short, causes different body parts to become inflamed. That includes the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or digestive tract. The CDC says it’s not sure what causes it, and it can be serious or deadly.

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Hawaii has seen an increase of pediatric COVID-19 cases during the delta surge, going from 5,216 on Aug. 15 to 11,037 on Oct. 6 — it’s the largest increase of any age group.

The CDC said last week it has seen a 12% increase in reports of MIS-C in children nationwide since late August.

“We’ve had kids who are really sick requiring ICU care as well, so just definitely something for parents to watch out for and keep an eye out, even if they might think that they’re out of that 10- to 14-day window. These symptoms can present after a few weeks as well,” pediatrician Dr. Courtney Taum of Keanuenue Pediatrics said.

Those symptoms, which can come even weeks after the initial infection, can be unlike most respiratory symptoms of COVID-19.

“Those symptoms can even occur weeks after the initial COVID infection. So what we’re seeing with that is some of the more atypical symptoms, which consists of diarrhea, vomiting, sore lymph nodes, maybe not so much consistent with the respiratory symptoms that most people talk about,” Dr. Taum said.

It’s best to check with your child’s doctor if any of those show up.

“Parents might miss the fact that, ‘Oh this doesn’t seem COVID related, it’s not respiratory-related,'” Dr. Taum said. “Very vigilant to keep watching them even after the infection because if they do develop MIS-C, they can get hospitalized and have more severe symptoms without especially involving the heart.”

Another way to combat it is having your child vaccinated if they are eligible.

“There are some of those parents that of course want to wait to see how everyone else does. There’s no way to pinpoint when someone’s going to get COVID. So getting the vaccine as soon as it comes out is the strongest recommendation that we have to provide the best protection for your children and your family,” Dr. Taum said.

If you’re unsure, talk to your doctor.

“If you have any hesitations or any questions, we do encourage you to talk with providers so that you can get the most accurate and updated information on the vaccines,” Dr. Taum said.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

COVID-19 vaccines for keiki ages 5 to 11 are expected to be approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization sometime in November.

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