MIS-C stands for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. It’s a condition that can bring on dangerous inflammation throughout a child’s body, including in the:
MIS-C can be severe and life-threatening. But most children get better with quick treatment.
Here’s what else you need to know.
Experts aren’t sure what causes MIS-C. But they know that lots of children with it had COVID-19 or spent time around someone with it. The CDC considers MIS-C to be a complication of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Children can have symptoms of MIS-C within days to weeks after they get sick with COVID-19 or for up to 4 weeks after exposure to someone with a suspected or confirmed case of it.
They’re not the same for every child. But call your doctor right away if yours has:
- Fever that lasts more than 24 hours
- Belly pain
- Neck pain
- Skin rash and lesions
- Bloodshot eyes
Call 911 or go to the emergency room if your child has:
Who Gets MIS-C?
MIS-C is rare. Your child may be more likely to get it if they are between 3 and 12 years old.
But babies and teens can get MIS-C, too.
Researchers say there’s no evidence that the disease spreads from person to person. But your child could also have COVID-19 or another contagious infection at the same time that they have MIS-C. So if you go to the doctor’s office or a hospital, wear face masks.
Your doctor may give your child tests that help spot inflammation or other signs of the disease. These tests can include:
Most children who become sick with MIS-C need hospital care. Some need to stay in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU).
The doctor may give your child treatments that ease different symptoms of MIS-C, like:
- Fluids for dehydration
- Oxygen to improve breathing
- Meds that lower the chances of blood clots
- Aspirin to ease heart concerns
- Antibiotics to protect against infection
Your child may also need treatments that lower swelling and inflammation, like:
- A blood product called immunoglobulin, given through a vein (IV)
Follow the same safety steps that lower your chances of getting COVID-19. Remind your child to do things like:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If there’s nowhere to wash, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid sick people, especially if they’re coughing or sneezing.
- Keep at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your home.
- Wear face masks in public (if your child is 2 years old or up).
- Don’t touch the nose, eyes, and mouth.
- Cover the mouth with a tissue or elbow during a sneeze or cough.
Can Adults Get It?
Yes, but for them it's called MIS-A and it can also be dangerous or deadly without medical care. The CDC says reports suggest that adults who get MIS usually need intensive care at the hospital.