Scientists reveal types of children's coronavirus-related rashes parents should look out for

A rare hyperinflammation condition, called MIS-C, can occasionally develop in children who contract coronavirus (Picture: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

Doctors have highlighted common coronavirus-related rashes in children which could help parents recognise when medical attention is needed.

A rare hyperinflammation condition, called MIS-C, can occasionally develop in children who contract Covid-19. It was first diagnosed in April 2020.

It causes some organs in the body to swell and can be fatal – but the Centre for Disease Control says most children survive.

But experts from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia say diagnosing it has proved difficult as many of its symptoms, including rash, fever and gastrointestinal distress, are similar to other childhood illness.

So they have published information and images of rashes, which could be seen alongside more typical symptoms such as fever, which could help identify MIS-C, which can develop alongside coronavirus.

‘We hope the information provided in this research letter will help general paediatricians and emergency department physicians who may wonder if a patient with a fever requires a more extensive examination,’ said infectious disease exeprt and author of the study Audrey Odom John.

‘Given that some rashes associated with MIS-C are distinctive, we also imagine these images could help many parents who are looking for signs that their child needs prompt evaluation.’

The researchers say there wasn’t a single type of rash common among all cases of MIS-C – long name Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome Children – in the young people they examined.

MIS-C, coronavirus-related inflammatory disease (Picture: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

The rashes usually occur on the lower limbs, inner thigh, chest and upper extremities (Picture: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

MIS-C, coronavirus-related inflammatory disease (Picture: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

Rashes on the chest and upper extremities are also common (Picture: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

MIS-C, coronavirus-related inflammatory disease (Picture: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

A tell-tale sign is that the rashes are rarely itchy (Picture: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

MIS-C, coronavirus-related inflammatory disease (Picture: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

The rashes usually present as small to medium circles the size of a 5p coin, with tiny red spots in the centre (Picture: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

But they said while there was no single location for rashes to appear, they usually occurred on the lower limbs, inner thigh, chest and upper extremities. 

All patients in the study developed a rash on their lower body, and five of the seven patients had a rash on their inner thighs. 

Rashes on the chest and upper extremities were also common, occurring in four out of seven patients.

While some patients did develop a cherry-red rash on the bottoms of their feet and palms of their hands, this sort of rash was seen in less than half of the patients. Rashes on the face were uncommon.

A tell-tale sign is that the rashes were rarely itchy.

But in more than half of the seven patients examined, they usually presented as small to medium circles the size of a 5p coin, with tiny red spots in the centre. 

Dr John added: ‘Depending on the age of the child, parents may not regularly look at the child’s chest, back or thighs, but this is where the rashes associated with MIS-C tend to appear.

‘Given that MIS-C is still largely a diagnosis of exclusion, parents and health care providers should look for rashes in these locations if the child has a fever that seems suspicious.’

The findings have been published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

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