We have been sheltering at home and following the recommendations of social distancing, handwashing and wearing a mask when we have to go out. The good news in our area is the dropping mortality and hospitalization rates of COVID patients. There is a new concern, however, for our children – Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome or PIMS.
PIMS is a very rare syndrome similar to Kawaski Disease and Toxic Shock syndrome, which most of you have never heard about. While extremely rare, about 100 children have been affected. The syndrome is thought to be a post-viral process, most likely related to COVID 19. The majority of patients with PIMS are COVID-antigen negative, but antibody positive or have a history of close contact with a COVID-positive patient.
Children with PIMS look sick. They have had a few days of fever greater than 101, and may have symptoms that include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, rash, red eyes, swollen hands or red cracked lips. Younger children may not want to drink. Few patients actually have the respiratory symptoms we see in adults.
Our concern is the syndrome may affect heart function requiring hospitalization and ICU care. The majority of children do well with this syndrome but they need special attention and supportive care. Pediatric Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome is new. We are watching this very carefully and scientists around the world are working hard to understand this syndrome and how best to treat it.
Until then, we want to reassure parents that most children are not affected by the coronavirus, and reports of children who become seriously ill remain rare and unusual cases. Many children have red eyes, or rash or diarrhea without fever or looking ill. These children do not have PIMS. What should parents do? If you are concerned, contact your Allied pediatrician. We can set up a telehealth visit and your pediatrician can evaluate your child and answer all your questions.