Most children with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or exhibit only mild symptoms. However, in the past two months, first in Europe, and more recently in the U.S., a small number of children developed a more serious inflammatory syndrome with COVID-19, often leading to hospitalization and occasionally requiring intensive care.
Although this is rare, knowing our children and teens can catch this adds an additional layer of stress for all of us who have children and care for children. It is not cause for panic, but it is cause to educate ourselves and our clients about the emerging illness and what to watch for.
This is a rare condition that, to date, has occurred in less than 1% of children and teens diagnosed with COVID. Symptoms of persistent fever (over several days) and stomach pains and/or vomiting, which doesn't improve after vomiting, are often present. Skin rashes, swollen feet or hands, reddened lips, swollen glands, and conjunctivitis (pink eye) may also be present. If a parent sees these symptoms, they should call the child's physician.
Again, it is not cause for panic. The condition is rare. Knowing when to call your physician is important.
Here's some additional educational material from Dr. Mandler, OP's Chief Medical Officer:
"COVID-19 infection leading to critical illness in children remains very infrequent. According to the leaders of the American Heart Association's Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young (Young Hearts), a few patients display symptoms found in other pediatric inflammatory conditions, most notably Kawasaki disease. Kawasaki disease is a rare condition that presents with a fever above 102°F to 104°F for at least five days, swelling of the lymph nodes, inflammation, a rash, and other symptoms.
"We want to reassure parents – this appears to be uncommon. While Kawasaki disease can damage the heart or blood vessels, the heart problems usually go away in five or six weeks, and most children fully recover," said Jane Newburger, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, American Heart Association Young Hearts Council member, associate cardiologist-in-chief, academic affairs; medical director of the neurodevelopmental program; and director of the Kawasaki Program at Boston Children's Hospital; and Commonwealth Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. "Rarely, but sometimes, the coronary artery damage persists. Because of this, Kawasaki disease is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children in developed countries. Prompt treatment is critical to prevent significant heart problems."
Since some children are becoming very ill extremely quickly, children with these symptoms should be swiftly evaluated and cared for in hospitals with pediatric cardiac intensive care units, as needed. Because there is a small but increasing number of children with fever and evidence of inflammation who are not severely ill, all children with unexplained fever and elevated C- Reactive Protein (C.R.P.) or white blood cell count should be carefully monitored."
Remember that good information is key to helping with prevention and early diagnosis and treatment. Be informed, and let's all help our kids and families be informed and safe.
Sanctuary on! Anne