child with adult hand on brow

"I went from 1st grade through a PhD with CFIDS. The keys are creative coping and unusual approaches to studying."

— Longterm CFIDS patient

Article Index

What is pediatric ME/CFS?

As in adults, pediatric Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex, debilitating, and sometimes disabling illness, which affects multiple systems in the body. Symptoms include profound exhaustion, post-exertional malaise, sleep disorders, neurological symptoms, orthostatic intolerance, and cognitive problems, such as difficulty concentrating or remembering. Pediatric ME/CFS can range in severity from mild (only a small impact on daily activities) to moderate (symptoms become severe with exertion, unable to attend school regularly) to severe (housebound or bed-bound). Symptoms may come and go with time. The prevalence of pediatric ME/CFS in adolescents is estimated to be about 1.8 out of every 1,000 in the US 1. This rate makes pediatric ME/CFS more common than sickle cell anemia, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or Down syndrome among children. Please see Pediatric ME/CFS Diagnosis for more information about symptoms and diagnosis.