Mid-South hospitals see MIS-C cases following COVID surge

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As overall COVID cases begin to slow, there’s another concern at children’s hospitals across the Mid-South.

It’s called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

That’s a delayed immune response to COVID often found in children and young adults.

“It’s already enough we’ve got to look out for COVID, so that kind of scares me, yeah,” Jaquan Turner of Memphis said.

Turner’s two-year-old son isn’t old enough for the COVID vaccine. That’s why he’s taking other measures to keep his child safe from the virus and MIS-C.

“I usually just tie a mask around his face and keep it on him and train him how to keep it on his face when we go out,” he said.

Though COVID cases are declining in Shelby County, Dr. Sandy Arnold at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital said they’re still seeing plenty of MIS-C cases, which is a serious inflammatory condition typically seen in children after COVID infection.

“Most children who have MIS-C don’t even know they have COVID, or they had very mild COVID, so it’s not the same thing as we’re seeing in some of these teens where they’re coming in with severe acute COVID-19 infection,” she said.

Dr. Arnold said MIS-C can cause inflammation of the heart, lungs, and kidneys, among other body parts.

She said as a whole, children typically end up sicker with MIS-C than they do with COVID.

“If your child is having fever and you don’t know why and it seems to not be improving, that’s really your first sign that you should be heading to the doctor to have your child checked out,” Dr. Arnold said.

Dr. Arnold said other symptoms include bloodshot eyes, skin rash, and stomach pain.

She said the best way to prevent MIS-C is to prevent COVID infection.

“Everybody needs to protect themselves appropriately against COVID from spreading to children because you can’t get MIS-C unless you’ve had COVID infection.”

Dr. Arnold said it’s also possible for adults to come down with the inflammatory syndrome after COVID, although it’s not nearly as common.