What do you know about Kawasaki Disease? If you're reading this article you likely have a child, relative or close friend's child recently diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease. Kawasaki Disease is a rare disease occurring only in about 3000 - 4000 cases each year. Kawasaki Disease is typically seen in boys more often than girls. Moreover, it is an acute illness characterized by fever, rash, swelling, and irritability. The disease usually lasts around eight weeks without serious complications if diagnosed and treated within ten days of onset.
Cause of Kawasaki Disease:
Kawasaki Disease is a bit of a mystery. Researchers have yet to pinpoint any distinct cause and there is no specific test to diagnose it. It is believed to be some type of infectious disease, but testing has been unable to confirm this.
Treatment of Kawasaki Disease:
Children will be hospitalized and treated with high doses of gamma globulin. This must be given IV and will typically be run over 10-12 hours. Aspirin therapy is also used in conjunction with this. Kawasaki Disease puts a child at risk for aneurism (swelling or ballooning out of a blood vessel) or heart attack. Since Kawasaki Disease causes inflammation of the blood vessels it puts a child at risk for cardiovascular complications both long and short term. If treated within ten days with IV gamma globulin, your child stands an excellent chance of complete recovery with no long term complications.
Is there anything else I should know about Kawasaki Disease:
Children with Kawasaki Disease will be in great discomfort and may be extremely irritable. This irritability may last as long as 2 months. Even though children usually make a full recovery it is important for parents to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack including pain and pressure of the chest, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and profuse sweating.
Your doctor will also want you to monitor temperature for several days until fever has disappeared. Your child will be continued on aspirin therapy upon discharge for approximately 6-8 weeks. Follow up care with your doctor is essential so please remember to keep all appointments.