By Dr Sundar C Ingaleshwar, Consultant, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur (A unit of Manipal Hospitals)
Covid was not known to affect children in the first wave. However, it has not been the same in the second wave, as children and youngsters have been affected by the corona virus. Though, they are experiencing mild or moderate symptoms of the infection, post Covid complications is what worries the parents.
Covid among children:
Adults were mostly affected by Covid in the first wave. The immediate lockdown and closure of schools helped children to skip Covid’s radar. Though, few children got infected, the symptoms among them were mostly mild or were asymptomatic. However, in the second wave the number of children getting infected due to Covid has increased. The most concerning part is the increasing cases of MIS –C (Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children).
MIS-C in children:
Children affected by Covid 19 in the second wave are experiencing mild or moderate symptoms. However, post their recovery from Covid within two to four weeks or in few cases even beyond, they are found to develop high grade fever and other complications which is known as MIS-C. This Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children affects multiple organs like heart, lungs and brain. A child can experience different symptoms like
Some of the severe symptoms of the MIS-C could be trouble in breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, and severe abdominal pain. In few children these symptoms may go to an extent of seizure or septic shock.
MIS-C mostly affects children after 2-3 weeks of testing positive for Covid 19. It is to be noted that, MIS-C is not a life threating condition and can be treated effectively if it is identified early. MIS-C is considered as an immunological reaction to a past Covid infection. Children with condition may commonly test negative for RT-PCR/antigen test and will only be antibody positive. In one-third of infected children, MIS-C can mimic another disease called Kawasaki Disease associated with inflammation of the blood vessels to the heart. While most children with MIS-C recover extremely well with no significant long term sequelae, a small proportion can develop complications related to the heart.
MIS-C can occur in children of any age, however it is mostly seen in kids in the age group of 3-12 years. Babies or older children may also have the risk of developing MIS-C.
Complications of MIS-C:
MIS-C is a complication which occurs due to Covid 19. Therefore, identifying the symptoms is crucial. A delay in treatment or inappropriate management can lead to severe problems to the vital organs like heart, lungs and kidney. In rare cases, MIS-C can lead to permanent damage to the organs or could be even fatal.
Steps to be taken to keep the children away from infection: