Warning over 'rare' Covid side-effect in kids weeks after infection

·3-min read

A mother in the United States has detailed the terrifying moment her son went into heart failure as a result of a side effect from a 'mild' case of Covid-19.

Anita Phillips, from Michigan, said her 12-year-old son Jon started experiencing symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) around four weeks after receiving a positive result.

"I took him to the pediatrician, who diagnosed him with Mono [Glandular fever] and prescribed steroids," she wrote in a Facebook post.

Photo of a young boy asleep on a hospital  bed with a mask pulled down on his chin.
Jon was in ICU for five days after experiencing rare Covid side effects. Source: Facebook

"They told me it could take a few days for him to start to feel better."

Symptoms worsened over several days

A few days later, Jon, who was waiting to receive a Covid vaccination when he tested positive, still wasn't feeling any better, complaining of feeling like his chest was "burning".

"I took him to urgent care, where they did an X-ray and chest scan and said that everything looked good," the concerned mother explained, saying they continued with the steroids and followed up with the doctor.

By late afternoon the next day, Jon had redness around his eyes, as well as them being bloodshot.

"All he would do was sleep," Ms Phillips said. "All the liquids he was sipping started coming right back out."

Concerned about dehydration, she took him to the emergency department, where he was immediately given fluids.

Photo of Jon's torso with lots of tubes attached.
The 12-year-old was seen to my multiple doctors after they realised he was in heart failure.Source: Facebook

His heart wasn't getting enough blood

It wasn't until he was checked into a room that she realised the severity of her son's illness.

"There were 8 to 10 Dr's waiting [in the room] all of which started working on my son," she recalled.

"There were two cardiologists, two infectious disease doctors, the head of paediatric ER, the head of the paediatric intensive care unit, several other doctors and four nurses.

"The doctor pulled me aside and told me that Jon had MIS-C and that he was in heart failure," she said.

"His blood pressure had crashed and his heart rate was 145. His ejection fraction which is [normally] at 60 was at 36.

"His heart wasn't getting enough blood."

Photo of Jon sitting in arm chair playing hand held video game.
Jon is now on the road to recovery. Source: Facebook

Jon spent five days in the paediatric intensive care unit fighting MIS-C.

"My son is [now] on the road to recovery," Ms Phillips said.

"He will have multiple cardiac follow-ups as well as some follow-ups with infectious disease."

Usually happens 4-6 weeks after positive result

Ms Phillips said her son's case of Covid was "mild", and occurred at the four week mark after contracting the virus when Jon's body tried to shed the virus.

"It sent his immune system into shock," she explained. "And it started inflaming his heart."

The concerned mother said it was initially missed by doctors because it's so rare.

"But it is real and extremely dangerous," she said.

According to Dr Anna Sick-Samuels from John Hopkins Medicine, MIS-C is triggered by the virus that causes Covid-19 and children who have not had any common symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever, sore throat or cough.

“The syndrome is an inflammatory reaction in the body about four weeks after infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus," she explains, listing initial symptoms include fever, rashes, red eyes, diarrhea and vomiting.

"The inflammation can affect the heart, blood vessels and other organs, which can make some children very ill and in need of urgent care," she continued.

"MIS-C is treatable if it is detected."

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