Though it may seem like a long time ago when the COVID-19 health crisis hit America, the virus is still very new.
Still Learning About COVID-19
Doctors are still learning about its side effects. And while most deaths from COVID-19 are in elderly or immunocompromised patients, there are serious post-infectious consequences everyone should be aware of.
“In the beginning of the COVID epidemic, we didn’t know if cardiac involvement would be happening, especially in children,” said Dr. Mehmet Gulecyuz, a pediatric cardiologist with Edward-Elmhurst Health. “But in April of 2020, the first report came out from England – there were kids presenting with Kawasaki disease-like symptoms.”
Kawasaki Disease is a rare heart disease found in young children and can lead to significant issues if untreated. Researchers saw a 500% spike in Kawasaki Disease in April, possibly caused by COVID-19. There have also been about 800 cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children across the U.S., which could also be linked to COVID-19.
Children Are Resilient
The good news is, despite the increase in prevalence, these post-infectious syndromes are still very rare. Plus, it appears children are more resilient to the initial symptoms of COVID-19.
“What I see is more kids with COVID that have either no symptoms or minimal symptoms, so it’s fairly rare for me to see a child that is sick from COVID,” said Dr. Jennifer McNulty, the medical director for pediatrics at Edward Hospital.
“We do know that kids with COVID infections have much milder symptoms,” said Dr. Gulecyuz. “And we do know that up to 45% of kids with COVID infections don’t have any clinical symptoms. So the problems is with a very small number of the patients. That does not mean we shouldn’t be aware of it.”
Even after your child recovers from a COVID-19 infection, it’s important to keep an eye on them for several weeks, as the post-infectious syndromes can appear well after beating the virus.
“If they have had COVID, whether we know it or not, and they recover from COVID and they get this post-infectious multisystem inflammatory syndrome, then we’re seeing different symptoms,” said Dr. McNulty. “Most of those children that we see, if they have those problems with their heart, we’re seeing that a few weeks later. So they don’t have fever, they’re just not feeling well. It can be very subtle to parents.”
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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