The Lawson family has gone through what one can only describe as a nightmare after their son had a near-death experience caused by the “mystery illness” that’s been linked to COVID-19.
As the world battles the novel virus, the family endured one of the “darkest” experiences with a disease later identified as “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS)."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to physicians on Thursday saying it's believed to affect children who were infected with coronavirus and presents similar to Kawasaki disease.
NBC News reports that symptoms include swelling in blood vessels throughout the body. Other symptoms of the rare disease include persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and red or irritated eyes, which can lead to organ failure.
Roughly 110 children in 19 states have exhibited symptoms of the disease, according to the CDC.
Little was known about the illness when Anthony Lawson first began exhibiting symptoms, which made it difficult to treat him.
Doctors at urgent care initially told his mother, Theresa Lawson, to give him Benadryl and let him sleep. His initial symptoms included a headache and itchy eyes, which his mother chalked up to seasonal allergies.
When vomiting and a thigh rash followed, she began to believe something else was at play.
“He hadn’t had the TV on in a couple of days. That’s what really stood out to me," she told TODAY.
Anthony’s condition began to worsen rapidly as the rash spread to his chest, shoulders, and arms in a “deep purple,” color.
Theresa told the publication he began running a low-grade fever and vomiting. His nails began turning blue and the whites of his eyes looked “painted red," according to her.
When Anthony began having difficulties breathing, his father rushed him to the hospital where doctors said that their previously healthy son was in “cardiac and kidney failure.”
His condition only began to worsen as he ran a fever of 104 degrees for several days and began experiencing “24/7” hallucinations.
"He was just screaming," Lawson told the publication, adding, "I didn't recognize any part of my child's personality ... He's generally happy, quiet and fairly reserved."
Doctor’s warned his condition could be fatal. Theresa recalls: "We were told on multiple occasions he wouldn't survive the next hour.”
While Anthony tested negative for coronavirus, he tested positive for antibodies. This led doctors to believe he may have the same mysterious illness as other children in New York. When they treated him with IVIG, which is typically given for Kawasaki, his hallucinations subsided and he began turning a corner.
Though Anthony may be on the mend, Theresa notes that they have a long way ahead of them as he undergoes physical therapy and is monitored by a team of doctor’s who can’t say with certainty if there will be any long-term heart damage.
Theresa’s advice to parents is simply: seek treatment if anything feels off.
“It's far better to leave the hospital, going, 'Wow, we didn't have it,' and ... go to bed that night knowing your baby is safe than play the 'what if' game and waste valuable time."
WGN reports that a 4-year-old girl who is believed to have the mysterious illness was rushed to the hospital after running a fever and gastrointestinal issues. She has since been discharged.
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