SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) — A 4-year-old Florida boy has been in and out of the hospital multiple times over the last 10 days. He was diagnosed with an inflammatory illness called Kawasaki disease a few weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Erin Thomassen, Sarasota, Florida, said her son, Alex, didn’t show any serious symptoms while he had COVID-19. For him, things escalated after he recovered and received a negative test result.
First, it was aches and pains, then it was a high fever followed by a racing heart and swollen limbs.
“His eyes were bloodshot red. He lost control of his stomach and he was throwing up and having to go to the bathroom,” said Thomassen.
Alex’s parents took him to the emergency room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. After a second visit, doctors sent him to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Pete.
“If it had gone on even one or two more days, he could’ve had really bad irreparable cardiac damage,” said the boy’s mother.
In a Facebook post that’s now been shared more than 1,000 times since Aug. 8, Thomassen wrote, “I kick myself for being lax about wearing masks and physical distancing. I thumbed my nose at the experts and my little boy suffered the consequences…We were complacent. We went to the gym without masks. We thought that we were safer because we’re all young and healthy.”
She admits, her son’s hospitalization was a wake up call.
“I was sitting there at All Children’s Hospital and I was watching them give the medicine to my son and thinking about how serious it could’ve been. For the last few months, I thought this has been over-hyped and there is so much misinformation and everyone is freaking out about something, and that it’s probably not even going to affect us,” said Thomassen.
“Even when we knew we had it, still, we were like, ‘Well we are young, we don’t get sick very often and especially little Alex. It is not going to affect him at all.’ It was really like this pervasive attitude that we have had,” she said.
Her hope is that her story and shortcomings will help other families.
“I hope that I can reach just a few people out there, I really do. Not have to go through what I went through or even think about somebody else’s kid that might have to go through it because you don’t feel like wearing a mask,” said the 4-year-old’s mother.
Alex has been doing much better over the last few days, but his parents need to keep an extra close eye on him. Heart and vascular issues are still a big concern.
“We have to be really careful as to whether or not he spikes a fever again because that is when it can happen. They have him on a really high dose of steroids, he takes an aspirin every morning to thin his blood out a little… they worry about blood clots and yeah, just being monitored constantly, monitored like on a weekly basis unless we see something that is a little off,” said Thomassen.
As families prepare to send their kids back to school, Thomassen hopes they’ll keep her family’s story in mind.
“They say masks aren’t 100 percent effective, but OK so what if they are 20 percent effective? I mean that is something that we can do for each other, so why not,” said Thomassen.