PIMS: what is Covid linked condition found in children, symptoms, how to treat it and what PIMS-TS stands for

PIMS is a new condition that happens weeks after someone has had the virus that causes Covid-19

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Covid-19 can cause a range of symptoms that people may suffer with long after contracting the virus, with some suffering from long Covid.

However, some children who have been infected with Covid-19 have suffered from a condition named PIMS-TS, which can occur up to six weeks after a Covid infection.

The i paper recently revealed that doctors are still misdiagnosing children suffering from the condition almost two years after it was discovered.

The syndrome originally emerged in children in 2020, during the first few months of the pandemic, but diagnosis of the condition is still a problem.

But what is PIMS-TS, what are the symptoms and how is it treated?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is PIMS-TS?

Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS) - also called PIMS-TS - is a new condition that happens weeks after someone has had the virus that causes Covid-19.

It causes inflammation throughout the body, which is one way your immune system fights off infection, injury and disease.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) said that although most children and young people who develop Covid have no symptoms or very mild ones at the time, a small number develop the condition a few weeks afterwards.

GOSH said: “These are mostly young people in adolescence, but children can get PIMS too. As PIMS is a new condition, we are learning about it all the time – you are helping us to understand more so we can diagnose and treat other children and young people better in the future.”

What causes PIMS?

It is caused by your immune system, which fights off the virus but then over-reacts to affect other parts of your body.

The hospital said more research work needs to be carried out in order to understand why some children and young people develop PIMS but others don’t.

As well as at GOSH, research is being carried out all over the world to find out more about PIMS.

There are not any specific blood tests to diagnose PIMS so the doctors look at the symptoms to work out if you have it.

The doctors use blood tests to look at the levels of inflammation in your body as well as checking how various parts of your body are working.

These results, along with your symptoms, let the doctors confirm you have PIMS so they can treat it.

Doctors also need to rule out other more common conditions that cause similar symptoms, such as Kawasaki Disease, Sepsis and Toxic Shock Syndrome.

What are the symptoms of PIMS?

The main symptom of PIMS is a high temperature that lasts for a few days.

You might also have other symptoms such as:

  • A rash
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Tummy pain or cramps
  • Red and cracked lips
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Peeling skin on your hands and feet
  • Headache
  • Red eyes
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Unexplained irritability

How is PIMS treated?

Doctors are still learning how to treat PIMS in the best way possible, but it is currently treated with a combination of medicines, including:

  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Anti-clotting medicines (aspirin and dalteparin) 
  • Stomach medicine – corticosteroids and aspirin can irritate your stomach
  • Biologic medicines – If IVIG and corticosteroids don’t work well on their own, you might have infusions of biologic medicines

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