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Definition

What is Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease, also called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, is a condition that affects the blood vessels. It  is a rare childhood illness that affects the blood vessels. It also affect the skin and the mucous membranes inside the mouth, nose and throat.

How common is Kawasaki disease?

The condition is 10 to 20 times more common in East Asia, including Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.  Most patients are under 5 years old, and the average age is about 2. Boys develop the illness almost twice as often as girls.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease symptoms appear in phases. Signs and symptoms of the first phase may include:

  • Fever which often is higher than 39oC and lasts more than five days;
  • Extremely red eyes (conjunctivitis) without a thick discharge;
  • A rash on the main part of the body (trunk) and in the genital area;
  • Red, dry, cracked lips and an extremely red, swollen tongue (strawberry tongue);
  • Swollen, red skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet;
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and perhaps elsewhere;

In the second phase of the disease, your child may develop:

  • Peeling of the skin on the hands and feet, especially the tips of the fingers and toes, often in large sheets;
  • Joint pain;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Abdominal pain.

In the third phase of the disease, signs and symptoms slowly go away unless complications develop. It may be as long as eight weeks before energy levels seem normal again.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes Kawasaki disease?

Experts don’t know what causes the disease, but it appear that it doesn’t spread from person to person. The disease happens most often in the late winter and early spring.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Kawasaki disease?

You are at a higher risk of developing Kawasaki disease if you have the following risk factors:

  • Children under 5 years old are most at risk of Kawasaki disease.
  • Boys are slightly more likely than girls are to develop Kawasaki disease.
  • Children of Asian descent, such as Japanese or Korean, have higher rates of Kawasaki disease.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is Kawasaki disease diagnosed?

Kawasaki disease can be hard to diagnose as there is not an available test for thi. Your doctor may diagnose Kawasaki disease if both of these things are true:

  • A fever that lasts at least 5 days.
  • A few of the other five symptoms listed above.

Your child may also have routine lab tests to rule out diseases that cause similar signs and symptoms include:

  • Urine tests.
  • Blood tests.

How is Kawasaki disease treated?

Treatment for Kawasaki disease starts in the hospital. It may include:

  • Immunoglobulin(IVIG) medicine. This is given through a vein (intravenous, or IV) to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels.
  • Aspirin to help pain and fever and to lower the risk of blood clots.

Aspirin therapy is often continued at home. Because of the risk of Reye syndrome, do not give aspirin to your child without talking to your doctor. If your child is exposed to or develops chickenpox or flu(influenza) while taking aspirin, talk with your doctor right away.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Kawasaki disease?

Your child may be tired and fussy, and his or her skin may be dry for a month or so. Try not to let your child get overly tired. And use skin lotion to help keep the fingers and toes moist.

If the disease causes heart problems, your child may need more treatment and follow-up tests.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: July 11, 2017 | Last Modified: July 11, 2017

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