Mother shares child’s struggle with rare inflammatory syndrome caused by COVID-19

Local News

A Rock Island native is sharing her child’s struggle with COVID-19, and the rare syndrome he developed after recovering from the virus. 

It’s called MIS-C, which stands for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children.

The condition causes inflammation in different organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, eyes and the brain. 

Sara Cantu is from Rock Island and now lives in Galveston, Texas. Her five-year-old son Santana is fighting for his life at the Texas Children’s Hospital. 

“When the doctor decided [and] we all agreed that he should be intubated because he was struggling so hard,” she said about Santana. “I tried to just comfort him and tell him that he is going to go to sleep for a little while, and when he wakes up, he’s going to be better.” 

MIS-C is a rare syndrome that children that have either tested positive for COVID-19, or been around someone who has. Symptoms show up 3-4 weeks after recovery from the virus, the CDC states. 

Santana tested positive for COVID-19 the day after Thanksgiving. Cantu said he recovered after having only mild symptoms, but started showing other symptoms weeks later 

“He developed really red, red eyes. It would take a while for his fever to go down, and then once it would be down, it would be down for a while. But then it would go back up,” she said.  

The Center for Disease Control is monitoring cases of MIS-C in the US. As of December, there were about 1300 cases in the country.  There are between 11-30 known cases in Iowa, 31-50 cases in Illinois and over 51 cases in Texas where Cantu and Santana now live. 

Unfortunately for Sanata, one of the adverse side-effects has been heart failure like symptoms. Cantu says doctors are not sure if the effects will be long term. 

“I just try to think about the now and how he can recover right now,” she said. 

Cantu wants everyone to stay diligent in stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

“We need to continue to keep protecting ourselves and our children, for our children,” she said. 

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome symptoms include: 

  • Abdominal (gut) pain, 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Feeling extra tired

If your child is showing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe page to help with unexpected medical costs.

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