Houston mother and 6-year-old son share story of battle with rare COVID-19 complication

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – A 6-year-old boy and his mother are reliving his terrifying battle with a rare childhood COVID-19 complication that kept him in the ICU for more than two weeks.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome, also known as MIS-C, in children is a rare condition where different parts of the body become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, and brain. It usually occurs three to four weeks after contracting the virus. Very rarely, only 1% of children with COVID have it.

Last January, Sara Cantu took her son, Santana, then 5 years old, to the hospital when he started showing symptoms a few weeks after contracting COVID.

“They said, ‘I think we need to intubate him and that would be the best thing for him because we need his heart to recover,'” Cantu recalls.

Santana was transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital and spent a total of 16 days in the ICU. Cantu didn’t know if her son would make it, and took a video to remember their last moments together.

“I said, ‘I don’t know if this is the last time I’ll talk to him,’ so we took a video and I said, ‘You just go to sleep and when you wake up, you will become stronger,” said Cantu. “” I won’t leave you,” he said, “OK. “(Doctors) arrived shortly after and intubated him.”

Health officials are still working to answer many unanswered questions about MIS-C. According to CDC, researchers are still learning about how it affects children, why some get it and others don’t, and the long-term side effects.

At the time Cantu learned about MIS-C, she said there wasn’t much information out there that she believed would be helpful as a parent. She says one of the things that keeps her faith and strength strong is the need to educate parents to recognize the signs.

“I had to keep telling him to be strong, and at the same time, while he was lying on that bed, the only thing that could help me was to educate others. Tell other families, ‘ If your child has COVID, you must now pay attention to these symptoms,” said Cantu.

The CDC recommends that parents contact their child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if they begin to develop some of the following symptoms of MIS-C:

  • Stomachache
  • Bloody red eyes
  • Dizzy

Santana has almost fully recovered, although it is difficult to say if there are any long-term side effects. His one-year check-up is just around the corner.

“I see we’re spreading a lot of awareness,” Cantu said.

Cantu joined a support group, which she says helped her through. The group called CircumSTANCE for the purpose of spreading awareness and being adopted by a wide range of other parents in similar situations.

Texas Children’s Hospital has seen more than 250 cases of MIS-C since the start of the pandemic, according to hospital officials. Officials expect that number to increase because MIS-C tends to affect people three to six weeks after they contract COVID.

The recent increase in omicrons can also affect the growth of the case.

Earlier this month, Texas Children’s Hospital reported the highest number of hospitalizations for children, at more than 70. A hospital spokesman said there are currently 70 cases.

For updates on this story, follow Brooke Taylor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. Copyright Registered. Houston mother and 6-year-old son share story of battle with rare COVID-19 complication

Dais Johnston

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