What is myocarditis and are symptoms a risk for children after Covid-19 vaccine?
OVER the last 18 months everyone has become more conscious about their health and wellbeing as the coronavirus continues to spread globally.
Myocarditis has been linked to the virus and in some cases vaccination, but what is the condition and what are the signs you need to know?
A recent paper revealed that boys are more at risk of myocarditis.
The study looked specifically at the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and found that over a four month period, boys aged 12 to 15 with no underlying health issues were four to six-times more likely to be diagnosed with vaccine related myocarditis than ending up in hospital with the bug.
Covid vaccines have been proven to prevent severe illness in people who are vaccinated and health officials have continued to urged Brits to come forward for their jabs.
No vaccine is 100 per cent effective and all medications have listed side effects, they are usually found in the packet on a leaflet included with the medicine.
Most people who have a coronavirus vaccine have no side effects, with the majority of those that do reporting pain at the site of injection and a general cold and flu like feeling.
In the UK the chief medical officers have recommended that 12-15-year-olds have vaccines on the grounds of public health as it's likely that them having the jabs will reduce the spread of Covid in schools.
The study was conducted in the US and is yet to be peer reviewed.
What is myocarditis?
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) states that the cause of myocarditis is not always known.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle while pericarditis is inflammation of the lining outside the heart.
The BHF says that it can often be caused by a viral, bacterial or fungal infection, a chest infection or an auto immune disease (when your own immune system attacks your body).
If you are found to have myocarditis then it will often be treated with monitoring and medication, but this will depend on the severity of the case.
What are the signs and symptoms
he main symptoms to look out for, according to the British Heart Foundation and the Mayo Clinic, are:
- a stabbing pain and/or tightness in the chest which may spread across the body (myocarditis and pericarditis)
- flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, tiredness and fatigue (myocarditis and pericarditis)
- fluid retention with swelling of your legs, ankles and feet (myocarditis and pericarditis)
- shortness of breath when lightly exercising or walking (myocarditis)
- difficulty breathing when resting (myocarditis)
- palpitations or an abnormal heart rhythm (myocarditis)
- a sudden shortness of breath – if you experience this get urgent medical help (pericarditis)
- pain in the neck that may spread across the shoulders and/or arms (pericarditis)
- nausea or feeling light headed (pericarditis)
The MHRA said anyone who experiences "chest pain, shortness of breath or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart" after a jab should seek urgent medical attention.
Officials have suggested the symptoms of heart inflammation linked with the mRNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer jab may be different.
Are kids at risk?
The data published in the US study is different from the UK and vaccines in the US are given at short time intervals.
The UK's medicines regulator says that the rate of myocarditis after vaccination is six per million after the Pfizer jab.
In the US this rate is 44 per million – but it's key to remember the difference in vaccines and the fact that the US health authorities are working from a bigger pool of people.
Professor of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Southampton, Saul Faust said he wouldn't hesitate in giving his kids the jabs.
"While myocarditis after vaccination is exceptionally rare, we may be able to change the first or second doses or combine vaccines differently to avoid the risk at all, once we understand the physiology better", he told The Guardian.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said there is a 'small risk' of myocarditis' after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
They do however state that the case are mild and are easily treated.
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