North Carolina mom warns parents after daughter is hospitalized with COVID-related inflammatory syndrome

HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. -- What initially started as a lingering headache quickly turned into a life-threatening situation for Theodosia Sharp's daughter, Kimariya.

During the first two weeks of February, 10-year-old Kimariya was being treated by a full medical staff at Duke Hospital.

"It was rough, especially when you hear that a ventilator is going down your child's throat, that's the scariest part of it all," Sharp said.

This situation was a far cry from what the young girl initially dealt with in mid-January. According to Sharp, she first noticed her daughter acting odd when she kept complaining about a headache.

"She was telling me that she was having headaches, and I thought to myself, 'that's not normal for her to keep getting Tylenol from me,'" Sharp said.

After taking her to a local pediatrician to be checked, Sharp told ABC11, ABC7's sister station in North Carolina, that Kimariya's condition continued to worsen. A week later, the headaches turned into sleepiness, a loss of appetite, and a fever.

Sharp, who grew more concerned, checked her daughter into the High-Smith Rainey Specialty Hospital Services. There, doctors quickly realized that the young girl, who is also asthmatic, needed to be rushed by ambulance to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Feb. 1.

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"She had fevers; she kept saying her chest hurt. Her heartbeat was rapid and all her organs, I think, was the stuff ... was attacking all of her organs," Sharp said.

At CFVMC, doctors diagnosed Kimariya with the COVID-19 associated Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). Health experts at the CDC say it's a condition that inflames vital organs and medical officials have recently seen some children get the condition after having COVID-19 or being around someone with it.

Sharp said she was diagnosed with the virus in mid-December, expecting most of her family to have been at risk of contracting it from her.

On Feb. 4, Kimariya's symptoms grew worse and she had to be airlifted to Duke Hospital to be treated.

"She was on a ventilator. She had the tube going down her nose to suck all of the stuff out of her stomach, and let me tell you she hadn't ate in two weeks," Sharp said.

Finally, on Feb. 12, Duke Health doctors were able to get the symptoms under control and the Harnett County girl was discharged from the hospital.

Sharp said it was a sigh of relief. "I finally got to see her smile and everything."

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Now, the mother of five wants other parents to be aware of this condition and be on the lookout for any strange behaviors or symptoms from their kids.

"You just got to know your child, and if your child comes to you and keeps asking for Tylenol, asking for medicine, things are out of the ordinary. Take your child to the doctor to see somebody," Sharp said.

Sharp told ABC11 that Kimariya's long road to recovery could last anywhere between six months to a year. She'll also have to regularly meet with doctors to ensure her heart and other vital organs are functioning properly.

While Sharp acknowledged this will be a difficult and expensive journey, she says it is all worth it seeing her daughter be herself again.

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