‘This Has Been a Lot': Teen Struggles With Severe Inflammatory Syndrome After COVID-19 Battle

MIS-C is an inflammatory syndrome that can affect the heart, lungs, skin and other parts of the body. It potentially has life-long impacts.

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A teenager who recovered from COVID-19 faces another serious health complication that will require at least six months of recovery.

Los Angeles County health officials are monitoring the case in Lakewood and about two dozen other MIS-C — multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome— cases in the county. The severe inflammatory syndrome can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs, potentially having life-long health impacts.

“They did say in about six months he’ll be back to normal,” said Colette Griffin-St. Julian, whose son Pierre was diagnosed with MIS-C

But, she added, doctors said there are no guarantees. She shared some of her son’s most severe symptoms.

“He still has spots on the his hands and his back,” said Griffin-St. Julian. “His lips were swollen. His eyes were even redder, not pink, red.

Pierre said he knows others who have the virus, but the positive test came as a surprise. He had the usual symptoms of COVID-19, then the MIS-C symptoms appeared about a week and a half after the onset of COVID-19, his mother said.

Pierre made a video from the hospital that he posted online to let other young people know about the risk of contracting COVID-19. 

“I didn’t know it was going to happen to me,” he said. “Wear your mask and keep your hands clean.”

Nearly all family members tested positive for COVID-19 in July. The positive tests followed a small pool party for Pierre’s 16th birthday. 

A new study out of Seoul National University suggests that children can shed the coronavirus for up to three weeks, even if they are asymptomatic.

“This has been a lot. Just knowing that we even had COVID was surprising to me,” Griffin-St. Julian said. 

MIS-C primarily affects children, but can also be found in people up to 21 years old, resulting in inflammation of body parts. 

It remains unclear what causes MIS-C, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although many children with MIS-C have been at one point infected with the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, or have been around someone with COVID-19, the CDC said.

Riverside County reported its first MIS-C case Tuesday. 

“While most children are only minimally sickened by COVID-19, they can get it just as easily as adults, and an unlucky few will have serious complications,'' Riverside County Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said. ``While this case is not known to be linked to any school, it's a reminder we need to pay attention to COVID-19 in kids and its potential long- and short-term effects.''

Parents whose children may be displaying symptoms of MIS-C were urged to contact their doctor.

Click here to learn more about MIS-C from the CDC.

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