While recent studies have shown that the majority of children infected with COVID-19 are usually asymptomatic (or do not show symptoms)—what about those infected? What kind of symptoms should doctors and parents be looking out for?
An urgent alert sent by NHS England mentioned of a “growing concern” involving children in the UK who are experiencing coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome.
An “apparent rise” in children of varying ages were observed to have fallen severely ill, requiring intensive care across London and other regions of the UK.
In light of this situation, NHS doctors and those “who may be involved in the management of sick children” are now being warned about this rare yet dangerous reaction.
Coronavirus-related Inflammatory Syndrome
“The cases have in common overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki Disease with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children,” said NHS England.
This also aligns with other similar cases that have been reported by doctors in Spain and Italy.
Dr Nazima Pathan, a consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care in Cambridge, in an interview with BBC, said: “Some of the children have presented with a septic shock type illness and rashes – the kind of presentation we would expect to see in toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease (which affects blood vessels and the heart).”
The coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome that is similar to toxic shock syndrome could bring about a high temperature, low blood pressure, a rash and breathing difficulties.
Apart from flu-like symptoms, unusual symptoms in particular gastrointestinal symptoms were observed in some young patients: tummy pain, vomiting or diarrhoea, inflammation of the heart, as well as abnormal blood test results.
While it was reported that not all children who experienced these symptoms were tested positive, the alert advised those with such cases to seek urgent treatment.
NHS England reported that fewer than 20 such cases have been observed in the country thus far. They also stated the possibility of the coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome being another—as yet unidentified—infection linked to these cases.
While no link has yet to be established according to a spokesman, it is said that investigations will continue.
“Overall, children seem to be more resilient to serious lung infection following exposure to coronavirus, and the numbers admitted to intensive care units are relatively low,” said Dr Nazima.
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