The state of New York is now looking into a new rare response in children which may be linked to the coronavirus.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is saying the inflammatory response is responsible for at least three children’s deaths in downstate New York. It's estimated about 100 more cases have been seen throughout the state. These patients were found to all have COVID-19 antibodies or tested positive for the virus. The symptoms may have shown up weeks after the children were initially infected.
However, a pediatrician in the Capital Region says parents shouldn’t panic. Dr. James Saperstone of Capital Care Pediatrics in Guilderland says the inflammatory response is similar to Kawasaki disease, an illness that causes swelling and redness in blood vessels and throughout the body. He says this disease has been around since the 1960s and is treatable.
“You know, I have actually seen about eight or nine cases of it in my career here in practice. It’s so obvious and easy to pick up, and it’s treatable with medications, and if you catch it early enough you can minimize the inflammation,” Saperstone said. “The problem here with all the confusion of COVID and kids, a lot of these were undiagnosed until the inflammation got very severe.”
However, the response can become deadly, if not treated, because it puts a major strain on the blood vessels going to the heart. Saperstone says the symptoms for the response include a fever, unusual rash, or swelling of the hands, mouth, or lips. He says there may also be redness of their tongue, lips, and eyes. The child's eyes may also show symptoms of conjunctivitis (pink eye).
The doctor says if your child shows any of these symptoms, contact your primary care physician.
Medical professionals are also warning of a second wave, and say children maybe spreading the virus without even knowing it. With COVID-19, symptoms are almost undetectable in children. Saperstone says it’s important to call your doctor and test for the coronavirus even if your child has the slightest symptoms.
“A lot of the second wave is going to be fueled, the brush fire is going to start flaming, because of these kids that have no symptoms," added the doctor. “It brings home the fact that we still have to stay socially distant and masked because schools-because it’s said kids hardly get sick why not send them to school? Well this is another reason to be careful and go slow with It.”