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Cleveland Clinic doctor answers questions about COVID-linked illness in children

We've been hearing more about the illness in kids linked to the COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome. How concerned should parents be about MIS-C?

CLEVELAND — Cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome have been reported in 24 states, including here in Northeast Ohio.

As a mom, 'GO!' anchor Maureen Kyle had a lot of questions about the illness. She went to the experts, and had a very candid discussion with Dr. Camille Sabella, head of the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.

“As a parent…I felt a little bit of security thinking, ‘ok, it's not hitting kids as hard,’ and now we are seeing this MIS-C pop up,” said Maureen. “As a parent…should I be even more concerned now? What are my risks of my child getting this?”

The doctor said it is important to remember that most children who contract COVID-19 handle the virus well. But if your child has certain symptoms, they should be looked at by their doctor.

“Certainly any children who manifest fevers for several days, along with any of the other manifestations that we're hearing or seeing such as a rash, diarrhea, respiratory symptoms, any of those things should certainly warrant a call to the pediatrician,” says Dr. Sabella.

The CDC says it’s believed that MIS-C develops about four weeks after exposure to COVID-19.

Even though not much is known about the illness yet, Dr. Sabella says it acts very similar to Kawasaki disease -- an inflammatory disease that pediatricians already know how to treat.

Another question we asked the doctor – are kids safe returning to daycare and day camps?

“I would say again that children really have really done very well from a medical standpoint regarding the covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Sabella. “The safety of daycare and going back to schools really will rely on how closely we really follow the guidelines for safe practices, to try to minimize and mitigate risk as much as we can.”

Those best practices are things like washing hands and sanitizing common areas, which Dr. Sabella says should be done anytime we're in a respiratory viral season.

The overall message from Dr. Sabella is that although serious, MIS-C is very rare. If you have concerns, call your doctor or pediatrician.

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