SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - There's an increasing spotlight on how COVID-19 impacts children. We are now learning that kids are not entirely immune to experiencing symptoms or complications from the virus. There are hundreds of cases where children are being diagnosed with an illness that is said to be caused by COVID-19. Just yesterday, we learned about the first few cases in Florida, but there have not been any reported cases on the Suncoast.
“A minority of children infected with the coronavirus will actually get this. Parents should be vigilant for signs of this new illness in their child, but they shouldn’t be panicking about it because most kids who are infected with coronavirus will not develop this condition,” Dr. Juan Dumois, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases physician at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, explained.
The CDC is asking that pediatricians do warn parents though, of The Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome. Children who never showed signs of COVID-19 could get sick weeks after coming in contact with the virus. If parents see any signs of this syndrome, they are urged to contact their doctor as soon as possible.
“We’ve transitioned to telemedicine visits, so that we can continue to offer services, children can still see the provider but through a telemedicine platform,” Shirley Storo, the District Manager for John Hopkins All Children's Hospital Outpatient Center in Sarasota, said.
Symptoms include high fever, rashes, red eyes and lips and stomach pain that can last for more than five days.
“This new condition also has a tendency to frequently affect the heart, and that’s what concerns us the most about it. That is why children who might be developing symptoms of this condition need to be checked,” Dr. Juan Dumois said.
It’s similar to another, rare child illness called Kawasaki disease which causes inflammation in the blood vessels after being triggered by a virus.
“It’s possible that the same is happening here with covid-19. This virus may be a trigger to a condition for a child who happens to be genetically prone to getting it. We don’t know what genetic markers determine that in a particular child. That hasn’t been established yet,” explained Dr. Juan Dumois.
However, unlike COVID-19, this illness does have a cure.
“We do have treatments for this condition cause by the coronavirus, and most of the children recover completely,” said Dr. Juan Dumois.
John Hopkin’s Hospital, and at their outpatient center in Sarasota, doctors say they are prepared and ready for any child that might show signs of the syndrome possibly linked to COVID-19 - including additional social distancing procedures to make it completely safe for families to come.
“We have telemedicine, no-walk in appointments available, curb-side check in for appointments, and everyone has to wear a mask inside,” Storo explained.