(CNN) – Katharine Dunn got really worried about her son Nolan even as his doctors told her she shouldn’t — the 13-year-old’s fever was “just a virus.”
He didn’t have a sore throat or cough. His Covid-19 tests came back negative, twice.
Then what had been a low-grade fever crept up to 104.4.
“That’s when I knew something was really wrong,” she said. “Some people’s children spike those types of fevers, my kids never do.”
Talking it over with her dad, he reminded her a friend’s child had a “weird syndrome” called MIS-C that stands for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.
Doctors don’t know what causes it. Often kids have Covid-19 first, but not always. The novel coronavirus doesn’t usually cause severe disease in children, but for those few kids that do go on to develop MIS-C, the condition seems to inflame different parts of the body, and it can be serious.
What doctors do know is that various children’s hospitals around the country have reported seeing a higher number of cases these past few months, even though MIS-C is considered rare.
In an update released Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 2,617 MIS-C cases in the United States before March 1, and 33 children have died. That’s up from early February, when 2,060 cases and 30 deaths had been reported.
‘It scared the bejesus out of me’
In February, when her son was ill, Dunn looked MIS-C up online. Many of her son’s symptoms matched.
The CDC advises parents or caregivers to contact a doctor right away if kids have fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or extra tiredness.
Nolan’s stomach hurt to the touch. His lips were chapped. His tongue was swollen, and by the time they were back at the pediatrician’s office, his eyes were turning bright red.
The pediatrician took one look at him, told her to leave her office and drive straight to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
“It scared the bejesus out of me,” she said.
When they got to the hospital, she asked Nolan to read the sign that told them where valet parking was. He said he couldn’t. Everything was blurry.
“He has perfect vision,” Dunn said. “I told him, ‘Oh boy, you’re really falling apart.’ “
The hospital ran lots of tests, Nolan said.
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