3 Symptoms To Watch For If Your Child Has Been Exposed To COVID-19

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: June 29, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are beginning to see an evolution of the impact of the virus, both in terms of its spread as well as the symptoms of the infected. Until recently, children were seemingly unaffected by this highly contagious virus. However, new reports of symptoms specific to children have surfaced, making parents across the country more concerned about the smallest cough or slightly elevated temperature.

Over the past few weeks, the world began to hear reports, initially from the United Kingdom, of kids experiencing symptoms similar to those of Kawasaki disease, which include persistent fever in addition to a rash, redness of the eyes, lips, or tongue, and swelling of the hands and feet. Cases of children experiencing Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (also referred to as PMIS or MIS-C) quickly popped up in New York City and several other COVID-19 hot spots, with a significant number of patients testing positive for coronavirus antibodies, indicating they were previously exposed to the virus.

Doctors and researchers were able to identify the difference of PMIS from Kawasaki disease by the age group affected. With Kawasaki disease, more than 80% of patients are under the age of five, whereas cases of PMIS have been reported in children up to fifteen years old. And now, with the arrival of summer and with it an increase of interactive activities, it’s more important than ever to know what to look for if your child was potentially exposed to COVID-19.
  1. A fever of 100.4 or more.
    According to Johns Hopkins, it is important to contact your family doctor or pediatrician immediately if your child experiences a fever of 100.4 or more lasting more than 24 hours, in addition to any of the below symptoms:
    • Unusual weakness or fatigue
    • A red rash
    • Abdominal pain
    • Vomiting and diarrhea
    • Red, cracked lips
    • Red eyes
    • Swollen hands or feet
  2. Redness of the eyes, lips or tongue.
    Inflammation of blood vessel walls caused by MIS-C may present symptoms in the form of redness of the eyes, lips, or tongue. This occurs mainly within the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart, and can be confirmed through blood tests and imaging to check the heart for inflammation. According to The Mayo Clinic, this symptom may be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications to protect vital organs from permanent damage.
  3. Abdominal pain and discomfort.
    Before the discovery of the connection between MIS-C and COVID-19, children were sometimes misdiagnosed with food-related illnesses when exhibiting abdominal pain and discomfort. Although a symptom of inflammation, an upset stomach can be easily mistaken for a minor bug. If your child also suffers from a fever over 100.4, this symptom may be an indicator of your child’s immune response to COVID-19.

While researchers are urgently seeking new information on the connection between COVID-19 and MIS-C, a lot is still unknown about why some children are affected and others are not. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is researching if children with certain preexisting health conditions are more likely to get MIS-C, but so far there are no conclusive answers.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.