PIMS-TS or PIMS stands for Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19. It's also sometimes called MISC-C (Multisystem Inflammatory syndrome in children associated with COVID).

PIMS is a rare complication of coronavirus (COVID-19). It occurs mainly in school-age children, but can occasionally affect infants or young adults.

Most children who catch coronavirus do not develop severe disease.

PIMS is not like other forms of severe coronavirus. Children with PIMS will generally have had only mild symptoms or have had no symptoms at all at the time of their coronavirus infection. Symptoms usually start about 4 to 6 weeks later.

What are the symptoms of PIMS?

All children with PIMS have fever (temperature over 380C) lasting at least 3 to 4 days.

Other common symptoms are:

  • red rash (spots or blotches) which may be there all the time, or come and go
  • red eyes (conjunctivitis) which are not sticky or itchy
  • abdominal pain which might be severe, like appendicitis
  • vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • sore throat, cough, breathlessness
  • swollen glands
  • sore red mouth
  • swollen hands and feet
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • sleepiness or confusion

How is PIMS diagnosed?

Many other illnesses can cause the same symptoms as PIMS. There's no specific test for PIMS. Doctors can diagnose PIMS by:

  • asking about symptoms and how they've progressed
  • examination
  • doing blood tests and scans which show signs of inflammation

Is there treatment for PIMS?

Although PIMS can make children very sick, there is effective treatment. The vast majority of children make a full recovery.

The most common medicines used are steroids and immunoglobulin. These are given into the vein and reduce inflammation. PIMS can affect the way the heart works, and cause inflammation in other organs. Some children will also need other treatments to help the heart and other body systems.

Urgent advice: Speak to your GP if:

Your child has a fever lasting 3 to 4 days and:

  • is feeling very weak or dizzy
  • is very sleepy or confused
  • has a rash and/or red eyes
  • has severe or worsening abdominal pain

If your GP is closed, phone 111. In an emergency phone 999.

Last updated:
19 July 2022