What we know about MIS-C

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care.

What to do if you think your child is sick with MIS-C

Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Feeling extra tired

Be aware that not all children will have all the same symptoms.

Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe abdominal pain

How doctors will care for your child

Doctors may do certain tests to look for inflammation or other signs of disease. These tests might include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • Heart ultrasound (echocardiogram)
  • Abdominal ultrasound

Doctors may provide supportive care for symptoms (medicine and/or fluids to make your child feel better) and may use various medicines to treat inflammation. Most children who become ill with MIS-C will need to be treated in the hospital. Some will need to be treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU).

Parents or caregivers who have concerns about their child’s health, including concerns about COVID-19  or MIS-C,  should call a pediatrician or other healthcare provider immediately. Healthcare providers can follow CDC recommendations to keep children and their parents or caregivers safe if an in-person visit is needed.

What we don’t know about MIS-C

CDC is still learning about MIS-C and how it affects children, so we don’t know why some children have gotten sick with MIS-C and others have not. We also do not know if children with certain health conditions are more likely to get MIS-C. These are among the many questions CDC is working to try to understand.

All CDC recommendations are based on the best data and science available at the time, and we will update them as we learn more.

How to protect your child from COVID-19

Based on what we know now about MIS-C, the best way you can protect your child is by taking everyday actions to prevent your child and the entire household from getting the virus that causes COVID-19.

Page last reviewed: May 20, 2020