GP reveals facts behind the warning over coronavirus-related condition in children

27 April 2020, 13:46 | Updated: 27 April 2020, 13:52

By Adrian Sherling

A GP has told James O'Brien why the "urgent warning" sent to doctors is not something people need to be worried about.

The Health Service Journal revealed that an urgent warning had been sent to GPs, urging them to monitor children over "a serious coronavirus-related syndrome" that has emerged in the last two weeks.

Guidance was sent to doctors in north London describing “an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care".

However, speaking to James O'Brien, GP Philippa Kaye insisted that there is no need for parents to panic.

She said: "We have ways of cascading information to doctors and this is one of the ways that we do it. Having one in itself is not necessarily unusual. The urgency does reflect the seriousness of the situation.

"To reassure your listeners, we are talking about tiny, tiny numbers. That does not negate the impact of those numbers, but we are talking tiny numbers. And children are still the group which are doing the best with Covid-19 out of every age and other demographics that we can think of.

Drawings thanking the NHS in the windows of Downing Street
Drawings thanking the NHS in the windows of Downing Street. Picture: PA

"However what we are finding is that the virus is presenting in more and more unusual ways. And we are not clear whether what is happening to these children is Covid-19 or whether or not it is something else.

"But what we are saying is that if you have a child who has abdominal pain and diarrhoea and potentially odd skin rashes with their fever, then that child needs to be assessed in the hospital.

"What we don't want to happen is for parents to think 'oh I mustn't disturb' or 'maybe my child will get it if they go'. If your child is unwell, if they have those symptoms, then they must go.

"Now the majority of children will have another virus. Viruses cause rashes all the time. We know about chicken pox, but actually lots of the coughs and colds cause a fine pale pink rash over their belly and back that blanches - lots of them.

"And lots of children when they have a cough or cold actually will get tummy aches. That's because, just as you can get nodes that come up in your neck and you get swollen glands in your neck, there are some down your tummy and those can get inflamed as well. Children will often get a tummy ache and they'll often get diarrhoea.

"So it doesn't necessarily mean that what is happening to them is this very serious condition which is related to the inflammation of the blood vessels.

"What we are saying is be careful. If you have those symptoms, seek medical advice."

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