In most viral disease, the fever subsides and the illness resolves within 5-7 days. But what if the fever does not subside and lasts for more than 7 days?
Have you ever heard of Kawasaki Disease? Well, it is an illness which involves the mouth, lymph nodes and the skin of children who are 5 and younger. Though the cause of the disease is not known, it is believed that earlier the symptoms are recognised the better it is for children.
In India, most of the cases of Kawasaki Disease are either misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. This is simply due to the lack of awareness regarding the illness. Often symptoms of Kawasaki Disease are confused with measles. If left untreated it can lead to serious complications like the inflammation of the blood vessels. This, in turn, affects the coronary artery (the artery which supplies blood to the heart).
Here are 5 things that we must know about Kawasaki Disease:
1. Kawasaki Disease is one of the causes of acquired heart disease in children
In children, most of the times heart disease is congenital meaning present since birth. However, it is possible that they can acquire heart disease later in childhood. Kawasaki disease is one of the leading causes of the same since it affects young children.
2. The exact cause of Kawasaki Disease is not known
Even after exhaustive research of almost 40 years, the cause of Kawasaki Disease is a total mystery. It is often suspected to be caused by viral, fungal and bacterial superantigens. It was first found in Japan by Dr Tomisaku Kawasaki. In Japan, it has a high endemic rate of 150 per 100, 000 children who are under 5 years of age.
3. Diagnosis is made by observing its symptoms
There is no test for Kawasaki disease and the diagnosis is made on the symptoms. The disease starts with the onset of fever for a minimum of 5 days and more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Along with the fever, other symptoms are also taken into consideration. A simple acronym “CRASH and burn” is used to remember the symptoms.
- C – Conjunctivitis: Redness of the eyes
- R – Rash: On the chest, genitals and stomach. It may be red but not itchy
- A – Adenopathy: Swollen lymph nodes
- S – Strawberry Tongue: The tongue is red and swollen with little bumps which give it an appearance of a strawberry. Also, cracked, dry, swollen and red lips may be seen.
- H – Hand’s and Feet: The palms of the hands and soles of the feet are swollen with a distinct purple-red colour. Two weeks later the skin starts peeling.
- BURN: This is the fever that is very high. Almost 103 -104 degrees Fahrenheit and lasts for 5-7 days.
4. All the symptoms do not happen together
It is not necessary for all the symptoms to show up at the same time. In some children, the fever and other symptoms may be present while in others just two or three symptoms would be present with fever. Rather than the symptoms showing up together, they occur in series. Kawasaki disease is only given a nod after 5-10 days with symptoms and a high fever.
5. Immediate treatment can improve the outcome
Since Kawasaki Disease is an inflammatory condition, it often leads to the inflammation of the arteries. But the good news is that if it is diagnosed early and treated then only 25% of children will have coronary artery involvement. The only bet being that the treatment should start within 10 days. This decreases the likelihood of arteries being affected by 5%.
The treatment of Kawasaki Disease involves intrauterine doses of gamma globulin along with aspirin to lower the risk of heart problems. Also, it is important for the child to take their annual flu shots for the prevention of viral illnesses while taking aspirin.
Theme Reveal, A – Autism, B – Bronchiolitis, C – Celiac Disease, D – Dyslexia, E – Eating Disorders, F – Fever, G – GERD, H – Hand Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD), I – Imaginary Friends, J – Juvenile Arthritis