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MIS-C: Understanding Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children

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Posted at 4:47 AM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 12:34:26-05

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Arizona remains a hotbed for COVID-19 and with that comes more cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

If your kids had MIS-C, would you know?

Dr. Wassim Ballan, a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist at Phoenix Children's hospital, says fewer than one in 100 pediatric patients will develop MIS-C after recovering from COVID-19.

The infection is triggered, for those who are diagnosed, when a child's immune system revs up to fight the disease, but attacks the body's healthy cells instead.

RELATED: Arizona family warns about rare disorder caused by COVID-19

Ballan tells ABC15, "MIS-C is not diagnosed without a fever...that's the first thing parents need to look at."

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Fever for more than a day
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Blood-shot eyes
  • Exhaustion

In addition to his role at Phoenix Children's hospital, Dr. Ballan is on an international team of physicians who share diagnosis and treatment information to help parents spot the warning signs.

He says parents should pay attention to their gut instinct.

"So these are the things that I would want you as a mom, or as a dad, to keep an eye on, if you feel like your child is not doing well, that's when you need to call and get the advice about how to proceed."

He also says, "If they have a fever, they're not doing well, they're not...their happy selves when the fever goes away, because...obviously, the fever is not there. You know, give them some Tylenol or Motrin, the fever comes down, but they're still not feeling OK."

MIS-C is not contagious and it is treatable.

Dr. Ballan also says, in nearly all instances, children who get appropriate care end up making a full recovery.