Kawasaki Disease – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Kawasaki disease is a condition which causes inflammation to initiate on the interior walls of arteries throughout the entire body, including coronary arteries which are supplying the heart muscles with blood. It also has an effect on lymph nodes, skin and mucus inside the oral cavity, nose and throat. Symptoms of Kawasaki disease such as high body temperature and skin shedding can be quite terrifying. However, good news are that Kawasaki disease can usually be treated, with most children recovering from Kawasaki disease without any serious issues.

Causes of Kawasaki Disease

It isn’t yet known what exactly causes Kawasaki disease, but scientists do not believe that it is transferrable. Numerous theories connect the disease with bacteria, viruses and other environmental factors, but nobody has proven it just yet. Specific genes may increase your child’s sensitivity to Kawasaki disease.

Symptoms of Kawasaki Disease

Symptoms of Kawasaki disease appear in phases. Signs and symptoms within the first phase can include:

  • High body temperature which lasts for more than five days
  • Very intense red tone to the eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Rash on genital area
  • Red, dry and damaged lips; extremely red, swollen and painful tongue
  • Swollen and red skin on feet
  • Swollen lymph nodes on neck (and in other spots)
  • Irritability

Within the second phase of the disease more symptoms arise:

  • Shedding of skin on arms and legs, particularly on the tops of fingers, quite extensively
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps

In the third phase of the illness, signs and symptoms slowly fade away in case there are no complications to speak of. This can last up to eight weeks, before the level of child’s energy is back to normal. If your child is experiencing temperature that lasts for more than four days, you should consult your doctor; especially if the fever comes together with any or all of the above-mentioned symptoms. Treatment of Kawasaki disease within 10 days since its initiation can vastly improve chances to avoid permanent damage to health.

Treatment of Kawasaki Disease

In order to reduce the risk of complications, doctor will begin treatment of Kawasaki disease as soon as possible, right after you report your symptoms and problems. Tasks of the treatment is to lower the body temperature, decrease the effect of inflammations, all in order to prevent any damage to be done to the heart. In order to accomplish all this, your doctor may suggest:

  • Gamma globulin infusion of the immune protein (globulin) intravenously, as this can reduce risks of problems related to coronary arteries.
  • Aspirin – high dosages of aspirin will help with inflammation treatment. It can reduce pain and joint inflammation as well as reduce body temperature. Kawasaki disease is a rare exception in a rule where you shouldn’t treat your children with aspirin.

Due to the dangers of serious complications, first treatment is usually done inside the hospital. If your child experiences lower body temperature quickly, low doses of aspirin are to be administered over the course of six weeks at least.

About the author

Rani Vyas

Rani Vyas

I'm a Medical Consultant Doctor with a keen interest in Medical bioinformatics and genuinely intriguing way of presenting boring medical knowledge in an enchanting and eye catching way.

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