For Parents: 8 Symptoms to Watch for in Kids During the Pandemic

Amy Barczy

| 2 min read

Amy Barczy is a former brand journalist who authored content...

Mother comforts sick child
Doctors are watching cases of a new illness in children related to COVID-19. The new condition is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), and sometimes is called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PIMS). The illness moves quickly and can overwhelm the child’s system rapidly. It can be serious and even deadly – but most children under medical care are able to recover. The inflammatory syndrome in children causes inflammation in different body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. The exact cause is not yet known. But many of the children with MIS-C have had the virus that causes COVID-19 or have been around someone with COVID-19. Red flags about the new illness were first raised by doctors in the United Kingdom in April 2020, and since then similar cases of the inflammatory syndrome in children with COVID-19 have been reported across the U.S. – including in Michigan.

Symptoms of MIS-C

Here are eight symptoms of MIS-C to watch for in your child:
  1. Fever
  2. Abdominal pain
  3. Vomiting
  4. Diarrhea
  5. Neck pain
  6. Rash
  7. Bloodshot eyes
  8. Feeling extra tired
Not every child will have the same symptoms. Call your doctor, nurse or clinic if your child shows any of these symptoms to have them evaluated right away.

Emergency Symptoms

If your child has trouble breathing, pain or pressure in their chest that does not go away, confusion, inability to stay awake or to wake up, blueish lips or face or severe abdominal pain – these are all emergency warning signs. Take your child to the emergency room or call 911.

Link to Kawasaki Disease?

Some of the symptoms of the new inflammatory syndrome are the same as existing but rare, well-known illnesses that children can develop – including Kawasaki disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome. However, doctors are still learning more about the new inflammatory syndrome, and at this time no conclusions have been made.


Not every child with COVID-19 develops the inflammatory condition MIS-C. MIS-C is not believed to be contagious. However, it does affect children who have compromised immune systems and those who do not. The best method of prevention to protect your child is to take the same everyday precautions that you use to protect your family from COVID-19: frequent hand washing, wearing masks in public places, staying at least six feet away from others outside your household and limiting social contact. More from
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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association