COVID-19 Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children

The health and safety of our patients and families are important to us. COVID-19 does not seem to affect kids as much as adults or older people. But some children may get more serious symptoms, so metimes weeks after getting infected with the virus. This illness is called MIS-C, or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. This guide will tell you more about MIS-C and its symptoms.

What are the symptoms of MIS-C?

MIS-C can cause different parts of the body to become inflamed or swollen. The symptoms can cause fevers, and cause inflammation of the:

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Stomach
  • Intestines

Almost all children with MIS-C have also tested positive for the COVID-19 virus or its antibodies. Most children with MIS-C can get better after they get special care in the hospital.

How common is MIS-C?

This illness is still very rare. We keep learning more about MIS-C as more children get COVID-19.

My child was just diagnosed and hospitalized with COVID-19. Could they have MIS-C?

To see if your child may have MIS-C, your doctor will ask questions about their symptoms. If needed, they will run tests on the blood and urine. They may also do other tests like x-rays and ultrasounds.

Most children who are hospitalized and test positive for COVID-19 fit into one of three categories.

Most Common


Category 1: Children who have a positive COVID-19 test, but are in the hospital for another, unrelated illness. Examples may be appendicitis or a bladder infection.

Category 2: Children who have trouble breathing due to coronavirus infection.

Category 3: Children with fevers who are being evaluated for MIS-C

What symptoms should I watch for and when should I call my doctor?

MIS-C symptoms may show up 2 to 4 weeks after the COVID-19 infection. If you see any of the symptoms below, please call your doctor:

  • A fever for more than 2 to 3 days and is higher than 100.4°F or 38°C.
  • Swelling of hands and feet.
  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Cracking/Peeling or redness of lips.
  • Stomach pain that continues to get worse.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Neck pain or severe headaches.
  • Your child is not acting quite right. They may be very sleepy or very irritable.

If you think your child is having a medical emergency, please call 911.

Are MIS-C and Kawasaki disease the same?

Both Kawasaki disease and MIS-C are inflammatory conditions that can affect many organs in the body. They have similar symptoms but are also different. The differences are that Children with MIS-C:

  • Are usually a bit older in age
  • Have more stomach pain
  • Have different lab results