Social media and news outlets are all buzzing with talk about Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS), Kawasaki Disease, and Toxic Shock Syndrome.  “Dr. Google” will definitely give you information about these illnesses and new concerns being raised related to COVID-19 and children.  We want you to have up-to-date accurate information.  No more Dr. Google!

At Weiss Pediatric Care, we take our responsibility very seriously to guide and reassure the families that put their faith in us. Sometimes just putting things in perspective to help calm frayed nerves is the best medicine.

So, what is Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome?  And what is the link to COVID-19, if any? Should we be panicking?

To begin, Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) is a recently observed condition associated with the COVID infection that shares symptoms often seen in rare illnesses such as Kawasaki Disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Kawasaki Disease is an inflammatory condition of the blood vessels that has its peak episodes in the Spring and Summer. No one knows what causes it, but scientists believe the disease is not contagious from person to person.  It is treatable and while some do get very ill, most of those infected get better. The disease occurs in clusters, particularly in metropolitan areas, and the incidence is extremely small.

The symptoms may include

  • high fever for more than 5-7 days
  • VERY Red eyes
  • VERY swollen red tongue
  • VERY large gland swelling in the neck
  • cracked lips
  • red rash
  • swollen red fingers and toes
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, vomiting, etc.)

Children look VERY sick. And it is VERY, VERY RARE!

Similar to Kawasaki Disease, Toxic Shock Syndrome is extremely rare in children and typically peaks in spring and summer. It shares some symptoms with Kawasaki and PMIS and can affect many organs in the body including the lungs, bowel, brain, and kidneys. Unlike Kawasaki Disease, Toxic Shock can be caused by a bacterial infection known as Staphylococcal (Staph).

It is important to keep in mind that the recently reported cases where children have become very ill very quickly are VERY RARE. As with Kawasaki and Toxic Shock, they seem to be occurring in clusters during spring and summer and are often being treated in the same way as these known diseases.  In most cases these children are completely recovering with supportive care.

It may be that COVID is acting as trigger in a very small number of children causing these rare collections of severe symptoms.  Though what is being reported is definitely scary, it is also likely that this does not signal an epidemic of a new disease or a significant increasing threat from this virus to our children.

Should you panic?  Absolutely not!  The takeaway is that this newly reported condition in children is VERY, VERY rare. Most children infected with COVID-19 have extremely mild symptoms, or none at all. They do not require any treatment. And they get better!

Research is being done to better understand the possible link between COVID-19 and the inflammatory conditions that you’re hearing about in the news. It is important to know about this so that, should we see it, we can respond promptly and appropriately.

At Weiss Pediatric Care, we are fully prepared to handle this situation and keep your children safe. Knowing what to look for is important. But even more important is keeping calm, keeping everything in perspective, and having access to accurate information.

Call us whenever you have questions or concerns. We are here for you whenever you need our help and guidance.

As stressful as it may be, enjoy the special time with your children. Show them strength. Help them feel safe and optimistic.

Be safe………and when out in public please continue your social distancing.

Dr. Weiss and the Weiss Pediatric Care Team