JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When children get COVID-19, they could face other serious health issues as a result, including what’s known multisystem inflammatory syndrome -- or MIS-C.
Brian Henderson, a 12-year-old who was diagnosed with COVID-19, was released from Wolfson Children’s Hospital earlier in September. He was in intensive care, but is now at home recovering -- not only from complications of the virus, but from MIS-C.
“In the beginning, it’s worse. And once you actually get in the hospital, it starts to get better,” Henderson said.
For Brian’s mother, Alanda, it’s been hard. She said MIS-C, which causes severe swelling to vital organs, has changed her child.
“We don’t know if five years from now, if his heart will ever be normal,” she said. “I pray and I hope to God that will be the case. I still worry every day.”
Doctors fear more children will have cases similar to Brian’s. As of publication, there have been about 15 reported cases like his in the Jacksonville area.
The cause of the syndrome is unclear, but the CDC has said many children who get it had the virus that causes COVID-19 or were around someone with COVID-19.
Alanda Henderson said for her, it’s personal.
“It was my child. Watching him go through this. Not being able to help him … not knowing the answer,” she said.
Dr. Ryan Cantville is president of the Northeast Florida Pediatric Society. He is one of Brian’s doctors and outlined what parents need to know.
“These are kids who were maybe asymptomatic, had minimal symptoms or mild symptoms and recovered, or so we thought,” Cantville said. “And then two to six weeks away they start developing usually something like a fever, then they can have some GI system -- vomiting and headache. They could have some chest symptoms and then all of a sudden they could be having a rash.”
That is exactly what happened to Brian.
“This experience has been life-changing, and what would’ve happened if I got myself and my son vaccinated?” Alanda Henderson said. “I didn’t know how important vaccinations are, but now I understand. I don’t ever want to go through this again. I don’t want him to go through this again.”
Cantville hopes this family’s experience with both COVID and MIS-C is something other families take note of.
“I hope and pray that parents out can look at Brian and say ‘that could be my child next,’” Cantville said. “But you have the key and you have the option to go get you and your family and your kids vaccinated so they are not Brian or the next child with MIS-C.”
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