Alyssa Salazar said it took just days for 4-year-old Natalie to go from being happy and healthy to a hospital patient.
"I was scared and confused because everything was happening so fast,” said Salazar
She said it all started when Natalie woke with a fever on October 7.
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"She didn't want to get out of bed at all. She didn't want to eat anything. She wasn't herself,” said Salazar.
They went back and forth from the pediatrician’s office a couple of times before Natalie was eventually loaded into an ambulance to go from Abilene to Cook Children’s in Fort Worth.
Doctors diagnosed her with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children after testing positive for COVID-19.
Salazar watched as her daughter’s symptoms evolved day by day from rashes to vomiting to swelling in her joints.
She said it was as if her little body was shutting down.
"The nurse turned to me and said your daughter's very sick, and she needs to be placed on a heart transplant list. I felt frozen. I felt like I couldn't move,” said Salazar.
She was frustrated after doing everything she could to protect her family, constantly reminding her kids to wash their hands and wear masks.
"This is a perfect example of how it does affect everybody. My daughter, she's perfectly healthy. There's nothing wrong with her, and now she's here in the hospital,” said Salazar.
This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that the number of new COVID-19 cases among kids is up 28% over the last two weeks.
Cook Children’s recently reported experiencing its highest number of infected kids since the pandemic began.
Thankfully for Natalie, the treatment helped her symptoms disappear nearly as quickly as they started.
Though doctors are still running tests on her heart, Salazar said they've been told she’ll no longer need a transplant.
Still, she worries about the long-term effects.
She’s also encouraging parents to be vigilant should their little ones get sick.
“If we didn't do that, she wouldn't be here today,” said Salazar.
Most kids with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome get better with care, but it can be deadly.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.