Chicago | A 7-year-old girl from Chicago nearly died after developing a rare complication linked to COVID. Thegirl, identified only as Heather by ABC 7, was diagnosed with what is known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
MIS-C is a condition where parts of the body such as the heart, lungs, kidney, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs become inflamed. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is unclear what causes MIS-C, but children have developed it after being diagnosed with COVID or being near someone who has.
The CDC advises carers to contact health professionals “right away” if a child is demonstrating MIS-C symptoms. A child may have MIS-C if they have an ongoing fever and one of the following symptoms: stomach pain; bloodshot eyes; diarrhea; feeling dizzy or lightheaded; a rash; and vomiting.
“Be aware that not all children will have all the same symptoms,” the CDC states.
Heather’s ordeal started when she came down with a fever that she couldn’t shake. She later nearly died.
Her mom Shannon Oliver told ABC 7 Heather did not test positive for COVID, but her cousin did a few weeks ago. Tests revealed Heather had caught the virus at some stage as she had antibodies for it.
“To see her in a condition like this and to imagine a day without her was the scariest moment ever,” Oliver said.
Oliver said she had difficulties getting her family of seven vaccinated as it was hard to get an appointment for all of them and because walk-in slots filled up. The hospital has since helped the family to get vaccinated and boosted before Heather is discharged from hospital.
Anyone can catch COVID, but children are less likely than adults to become seriously ill or show symptoms.
However, the CDC recommends everyone 5 years old and over get a COVID vaccine because it is still possible for children to get very sick; suffer from short and long-term complications as a result of catching the virus; or spread it to other people.
Regarding MIS-C, Meghan Harding, a doctor at the University of Illinois Hospital intensive care unit who treated Heather, told ABC 7: “The virus does set off the excessive immune response in a very small number of children and if they are vaccinated and never get the virus, then they are not at risk for this disease.”
Hailey Haugabook, Heather’s older sister, told ABC7: “This stuff is really serious out here and you could really get hurt and you could get really sick and end up somewhere you don’t want to end up.”
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