Mother working to raise awareness after child dies from condition linked to COVID-19

A Payson mother wants parents to watch out for a rare inflammatory condition linked to COVID-19.

The condition is known as MIS-C, short for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. Carrie English's daughter contracted it back in December, and died at the age of 12. Now, English is speaking out about the ordeal.

Daughter's condition declined rapidly

Back on Dec. 4, English says her daughter, Elizabeth, didn't feel so good. She had a low-grade fever, some abdominal pain, and was tired. English took her from urgent care to an emergency room before going to Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Elizabeth's fever later spiked Her heart rate accelerated, and she had a bad rash.

"Totally out of it," English recounted. "Can't take anything in. Can't hold anything in. Her stomach is hurting Her neck's hurting. Her eyes are getting bloodshot. Like, everything is just very, very rapidly deteriorating."

Within five days of feeling symptoms, Elizabeth died in the ICU She tested negative for COVID-19, but her family learned she had MIS-C.

Expert talks about MIS-C

According to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children with MIS-C have what the virus that causes COVID-19, or have been around someone with the disease.

Dr. Anthony Ani with Banner Desert Medical Center says the inflammatory reaction seen mostly in kids one to 14 develops within two to four weeks after exposure to the virus.

"In the process of that response, we have an overactive immune system that now go on to affect multiple organ systems in the body," said Dr. Ani.

As for COVID-19 cases with children, dr. Ani says the Banner system estimates seeing nearly 400 kids admitted by the end of January 2021, which would be six times the amount since October.

Mother vows to keep child's memory alive

Elizabeth was known to uplift others with her smile. She was the youngest of six children, but was also her mother's best friend.

"As days kind of go by I realize I don't have that," said English.

English said she wishes she saw the signs sooner.

"What if I had known? But nobody does know," said English.

Now, English is keeping her daughter's memory alive. She is working with a non-profit organization called CircumSTANCE to educate families by showing the faces of MIS-C.

"I could be in a dark corner of depression forever, but I have to choose to look at a different side," said English.

CDC Information on MIS-C

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)