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MIS-C: The warning signs of dangerous organ inflammation in kids related to COVID-19

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C, causes dangerous organ inflammation in kids.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Local hospitals are overwhelmed amid a COVID-19 surge that's now surpassed the winter peak and is setting new records every day. Now, health officials are watching for a potential wave of "Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome" or MIS-C. It causes dangerous organ inflammation in kids.

“Children with MIS-C need to be treated in the hospital,” Ballad Health CEO Alan Levine said. “It's very treatable, but it's also deadly if it's not caught and treated.”

Most kids recover when treatment begins early. The illness appears in kids several weeks after recovering from COVID-19.

“It may have been recognized COVID or not diagnosed, but about four to six weeks later, you'll start to see them develop recurrent problems,” said Sullivan County medical director Dr. Stephen May.

The signs to watch for include abdominal pain, bloodshot eyes, diarrhea, tiredness, headache, neck pain, low blood pressure, rash or vomiting.

Parents should take their children to the emergency room if they start experiencing chest pain or pressure, confusion, trouble breathing, struggles to stay awake, or if their skin turns blue or pale.

The need to go to a hospital worries Ballad Health officials, since they said they are already stretched near to the limit. Around 75% of children's hospital beds in Tennessee are full.

“We're now in a period, really at the beginning of what we feel is going to be a pretty significant test of our capacity for children,” Levine said. “This is why we've advocated so much for extensive mitigation measures as much as possible.”

Those measures include masks, distancing and hand washing to protect kids from getting COVID-19 in the first place.

This story was originally reported by WCYB.