We have been sharing the good news about how the Bay Area “flattened the curve” by following national and local health guidelines [shelter at home, social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask when we have to go out]. However, recent reports have discussed a new concern for our children – Pediatric Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome or PIMS.
PIMS is a very rare syndrome similar to Kawasaki Disease and Toxic Shock syndrome, which most of you have never heard about. While extremely rare, about 100 children have been affected as of this writing. 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. The AAP website Healthy Children has written an excellent summary for parents and you can find that here. We will continue to update you as we get more information.
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, please contact our office. We can set up a telehealth visit with your pediatrician who can evaluate your child and answer all your questions.