When 5-year-old Carter came down with a fever and rash just before Christmas, Megan Borens figured it was just a common bug.
“Most parents have had children who are sick with fever and a rash, so I didn’t really think anything of it until he started complaining of abdominal pain,” said Borens.
At that point, she took him to a nearby ER.
“They actually tested him for strep, COVID and influenza, and he tested negative for all of those,” said Borens.
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As a doctor herself, the next day Borens asked their pediatrician about a condition she'd just read about called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C, a rare but potentially deadly condition showing up in kids exposed to COVID-19.
Though he’d never exhibited symptoms, Carter had been exposed a month before.
“They said, ‘We're not really seeing that. Just go ahead and treat him with strep. It's highly unlikely that it's that’,” said Borens.
Within 24 hours, she said Carter wouldn’t get out of bed and had swelling around his eyes and lips.
Borens rushed him to Children’s Health where she says her suspicion was confirmed.
“It is so scary. And as soon as the ER doctor told me this is what he thought it was, I got tearful. I got scared,” said Borens.
Had she not continued looking for answers, Borens worries rather than a four-day hospital stay, they could've been facing a worst-case scenario in an ICU, maybe even a ventilator.
So though MIS-C is rare, she wants parents to know it is happening here and to be aware of the signs.
“You know your kids. Listen to them when they're saying they're not feeling well. If you've started some kind of treatment and they are not getting better, I would say within 24 hours, then you need to call and ask again. Advocate for your child,” said Borens.
Doctors continue to monitor Carter’s heart for potential damage, which happens in some cases. Otherwise, Borens said he’s healthy and happy to be back home.
When asked about how many cases of MIS-C they’re currently seeing, a spokesperson for Children’s Health said there was no information available.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.