Editor’s note: I received this from a good friend of mine. They are a home birthing, organic green family. My own son has a congenital heart defect. Rare conditions effect all of our children, no matter how we try to protect them from environmental consequences. We are blessed in so many ways.
This is a Public Awareness Announcement on Kawasaki Disease.
Our daughter Lily was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease. Kawasaki disease is a rare condition (on average there are 15 cases a year in WI) that causes inflammation in the walls of small- and medium-sized arteries throughout the body, including the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. Typically it is seen in children under five (80% of cases) – but can also affect older children.
We would like to inform the community on this disease – which we had never heard of before. The reasons for this FYI is two-fold. One: if untreated there can be life threatening complications. Two: for some unknown reason, even though KD is non-contagious, it will sometimes appear in geographical clusters.
There is currently no known cause for KD. There is also no current test for it. Diagnosis is based on symptoms. You many not see all symptoms at once and some symptoms may not show up in an individual case. We were told 4 of the symptoms had to be present and other causes ruled out to proceed with treatment. The symptoms can also be very subtle. If you are suspicious at all, please have your child checked out.
These are the classic symptoms:
Signs and symptoms of the first phase may include:
- Fever, which often is higher than 101.3 F (38.5 C) and lasts one to two weeks
- 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
- 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.
Treatment in a Hospital
- Gamma globulin. Infusion of an immune protein (gamma globulin) through a vein (intravenously) can lower the risk of coronary artery problems.
- Aspirin. High doses of aspirin may help treat inflammation. Aspirin can also decrease pain and joint inflammation, as well as reduce the fever. Kawasaki treatment is a rare exception to the rule against aspirin use in children.
Lily also developed strep throat and pneumonia secondary to the Kawasaki Disease. It is important to know that if your child is being treated for a fever or some other illness – and they are not responding, and if they have any of the classic KD symptoms to seek immediate medical attention. This disease is commonly misdiagnosed as doctors attempt to “figure out” what is causing the fever. The misdiagnosis is what typically causes the delay in treatment. Without treatment there is a 25% chance of developing coronary aneurysms.
We do not wish to alarm anyone – our goal is to build awareness of this rare disease to prevent a possible misdiagnosis.
For more info go to http://www.kdfoundation.org