Also called: Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS); Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS) What Is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)? Coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to usually cause a milder infection in kids than in adults and older people. But some children have developed more serious symptoms, sometimes several weeks after being infected with the virus. Doctors are calling this multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Experts don't know why some kids get MIS-C after coronavirus infection and others don't. What Are the Signs of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)? Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) causes symptoms that are due to inflammation (irritation, pain, swelling) throughout the body. Doctors are trying to find out how these symptoms are related to coronavirus infection. Symptoms that have been seen in kids include: a fever belly pain vomiting or diarrhea a rash neck pain red, cracked lips red eyes being extra tired swollen hands or feet swollen lymph nodes If your child has any of these symptoms, call your doctor. Kids with this inflammatory syndrome may quickly get worse. Go to the ER right away if your child looks very sick, has trouble breathing, has chest pain, has very bad belly pain, looks bluish in the lips or face, or is very sleepy or confused. What Problems Can Happen? MIS-C can cause different problems in different kids. The inflammation can affect the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, or eyes. Sometimes, this can damage the organs, especially the heart, or cause too much clotting in the blood vessels. How Is MIS-C Diagnosed? MIS-C symptoms can be similar to those caused by other illnesses, such as Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome. If a doctor thinks a child might have MIS-C, they will do tests that look for signs of inflammation in the body. These can include: blood tests and urine (pee) tests COVID-19 test chest X-ray tests to look at the heart, such as ECG (electrocardiogram) and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) abdominal ultrasound (ultrasound of the belly) The doctor might talk with a team of specialists who can help diagnose and treat MIS-C. They can include experts in infectious disease, cardiology (heart), rheumatology (bones, joints, and immune system), and critical care. How Is MIS-C Treated? How doctors treat MIS-C depends on a child's symptoms and test results. They can give oxygen, medicines, and intravenous (IV) fluids to reduce inflammation, prevent excessive blood clotting, or protect the affected organs from more problems. Some children might need treatment in the ICU (intensive care unit). What Else Should I Know? Most kids with MIS-C get better after being treated in the hospital. But some can have lasting problems and need care from specialists after they go home. For example, kids who develop heart problems due to MIS-C will need regular visits with a cardiologist. They may have to avoid exercise or sports for a while, until the cardiologist says it's OK. Kids who get some kinds medicines (like steroids for reducing inflammation) will see a specialist, such as a rheumatologist or endocrinologist, who can help them adjust their medicines as needed. MIS-C is very rare. The best way to prevent it is to prevent coronavirus infection. This means following public health guidelines during the pandemic, such as wearing masks in public, washing hands well and often, practicing social distancing, avoiding crowds, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available. Back to Articles Related Articles Inflammation Inflammation is one way the body reacts to infection, injury, or other medical conditions. Many things can cause it. Read More Fevers Fevers happen when the body's internal "thermostat" raises the body temperature above normal. This is often the body's way of fighting infections. Read More How to Take Your Child's Temperature All kids get a fever from time to time. Here's how to take your child's temperature, safely and accurately. Read More Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: What to Do if Your Child Is Sick There's still much to learn about COVID-19. Still, parents wonder what to do if their child gets sick during the pandemic. Here's what doctors say to do if your child has coronavirus symptoms. Read More Understanding Coronavirus (COVID-19) Looking for information about coronavirus (COVID-19)? Our articles and videos explain what the virus is, ways to prevent it from spreading, what it means for school and learning, and much more. Read More Kawasaki Disease Kawasaki disease is an illness that causes inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body. When symptoms are noticed early and treated, kids begin to feel better within a few days. Read More Toxic Shock Syndrome Toxic shock syndrome is a serious but uncommon bacterial infection. TSS is a medical emergency - symptoms include sudden high fever, a faint feeling, diarrhea, headache, and muscle aches. Read More First Aid: Rashes Sometimes rashes are only a minor annoyance. Other times, they are more serious and require medical treatment. Here's what to do if your child has a rash. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.