COVID-19 keeps giving: MIS-C

A typical news cycle is 3-5 days. COVID-19 has dominated our lives for 4-5 months and isn’t letting up anytime soon. I’m tired of it. You’re tired of it. Normally, that much news about something couldn’t help but leave you with some idea of what the heck is going on. Not so with COVID. Ongoing news and advice about this virus only seems to add to the confusion. Which, at a time like this, is the worst possible outcome. So, even though we’re beyond weary, we wanted to help clarify at least one little piece that has been worrying us since it was first reported. Hopefully, it will create a basis for sifting through the rest of the confusion for you too.

If you’ve been following news related to COVID-19, which I’m sure you have because it literally can’t be avoided, you’ve probably started seeing some discussion of a new condition called MIS-C. Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. MIS-C is a severe inflammatory condition that seems to be able to affect basically all the organs in the body, sometimes many of them at once. According to the CDC, it is still unknown what causes MIS-C, but nearly all children who develop it have been linked to COVID-19, either having tested positive themselves or having been in close proximity to someone who tested positive. It’s also acknowledged that those children who have not been able to be linked to COVID-19 were simply not tested when they had it.

But here’s the thing: This isn’t just affecting children.

According to a number of sources, including The Washington Post and several European outlets, cases are beginning to be reported in adults in their 20s. It’s entirely possible that older adults are also being affected but simply are not being diagnosed now because MIS-C has been labeled a “children’s” condition. How many adults will have to be misdiagnosed and possibly end up dying because medicine doesn’t know how to deal with inflammatory conditions and categorizes them in irrelevant ways? It seems to me that it would be wise to take the C out of the name.

Children may have been unwittingly put at a higher risk for MIS-C because it was reported that they were incredibly unlikely to present any symptoms of COVID-19, so parents may not have been as careful to protect them as they may have otherwise been. That can’t be undone now, but we could learn a lesson from it and warn everyone that they are at risk for this condition, instead of assuming it will only present in children. It is becoming clear that it does not.

When it comes to virus-induced inflammatory conditions…

Unfortunately they are not as easy to address as lifestyle-induced inflammatory conditions. The best diet in the world will not protect you from a virus, despite what Pinterest may tell you. However, virus-induced inflammatory conditions are still inflammatory conditions, and the way that you eat and live will absolutely have an impact on the severity of the inflammation if you do get the condition.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you already have some inflammatory issues, even as seemingly innocent as acid reflux or acne, any existing inflammation in your body is an underlying condition that will make MIS symptoms more powerful. Any inflammation indicates that your body is already working to heal damages, and those affected cells are already weakened. It gives this virus a head start. This is another reason why nobody should feel like they don’t need to be diligent in taking precautions or paying attention to their own symptoms.

Reality check (with love)

I say this with love. Just because you have never been diagnosed with a specific condition or disease does not mean that you are perfectly healthy and don’t have any underlying conditions. Remember, any existing inflammation in your body is an underlying condition.

This is something I always question when the media states that a someone died suddenly of “natural causes” without any underlying conditions. That’s incredibly unlikely. Bodies do not just give up for no reason, without an outside influence such as a gun or poison being involved. If a seemingly healthy person dies suddenly from natural causes, it’s much more likely that they just weren’t as healthy as they seemed. More than likely, they had underlying conditions that were considered unrelated or not a big deal to doctors, while in reality they were that person’s body crying for help.

Nobody is going to die from gout nowadays, but if they have gout and then die from a heart attack, we can’t pretend like their heart wasn’t in the same body with the inflammation causing their gout.

Inflammation in your body affects your whole body.

You only have one body. Organs inside your body do not exist in isolation, they are all connected in the same environment. If one part of your body is struggling, why would the rest ever be considered to be in perfect condition? And let’s be honest, who do you know that can truly say they have no health complaints at all? Not even the occasional indigestion? Certainly not many adults.

None of us should be so arrogant to believe we are in perfect health. We could all treat our bodies better.

This is an evolving situation

There is still not much research available on MIS-C because this condition is so new. Studies I have been able to find so far have had very few participants, have been limited to children only, and seem very confused about what should count as an underlying condition. This is going to be an evolving situation, but it would be wise for everyone, at any age, to be on the lookout for any sudden inflammatory symptoms including asthma-like symptoms, rashes, and severe stomach or intestinal pain. This condition is caused by a virus. Viruses do not discriminate based on age. They are tiny parasites without the ability to know or care how old their host is.

There must be some reason why children are presenting with this condition quicker and more often, but assuming certain age groups are safe is probably how we got here in the first place.

Let’s not repeat our mistakes.

Please protect yourself. Especially if you have been exposed to COVID-19, make sure you’re monitoring for symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. They can present and become life threatening very quickly. At this point, the CDC’s best (and only) advice for protecting from this condition is to protect from COVID-19. That sounds bleak at best, but it’s probably true. The good news I can offer to add to that is that if you’ve been taking care of your body with a diet high in healthy fats and minimizing your stress levels with appropriate exercise and self-care routines, then even if you do get this condition, it will be much less likely to be severe or life-altering.

Viruses are a kind of illness that diet and lifestyle cannot help you prevent, but they absolutely can impact the severity.

That’s worth it.

P.S. If you’re not sure how to start addressing underlying inflammation or just want to learn a little more, here’s a blog explaining more about how diet can impact your body in this way, and most importantly, how easy it can be to improve. You might be surprised!

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