Thursday, 11 January 2018

Understanding Kawasaki Disease, Its Symptoms, Stages & Risks



Kawasaki disease (also referred to as Kawasaki syndrome or mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome) is a children's illness characterized by fever, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, irritation and redness of the whites of the eyes, swollen lymph glands in the neck, and irritation and inflammation of the mouth, lips and throat. These immediate effects of Kawasaki disease are rarely serious; however, long-term heart complications result in some cases and can usually be seen within two weeks after onset of the disease.
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Named after Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki, a Japanese pediatrician, the disease has probably been in existence for a long time, but was not recognized as a separate entity until 1967. The incidence is higher in Japan than in any other country. In the United States it is more frequent among children of Asian-American background, but can occur in any racial or ethnic group. The Kawasaki Disease Foundation (KDF) estimates that KD affects more than 4,200 children in the United States each year. KD is also more common in boys than in girls and in children of Asian and Pacific Island descent. However, KD can affect children and teenagers of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. In most cases, children will recover within a few days of treatment without any serious problems. Recurrences are uncommon. If left untreated, KD can lead to serious heart disease. Read on to learn more about KD and how to treat this condition.

Kawasaki disease can't be prevented, but usually has telltale symptoms and signs that appear in phases. The first phase, which can last for up to 2 weeks, usually involves a fever that lasts for at least 5 days.

Acute phase, or phase 1
Symptoms appear from day 1 to 11. They emerge suddenly and are usually intense, the symptoms include :
◾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


◾High body temperature, or fever, which continues for at least 5 days and may reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius.
◾Conjunctivitis in both eyes, where the whites of the eyes become red, and the eyes may be itchy, watery, and sore
◾Sore throat
◾Red, swollen tongue, often with small lumps at the back, sometimes referred to as strawberry tongue
◾A rash on the arms, legs, and torso, and between the genitals and the anus
◾A second rash on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, which may be accompanied by peeling skin.

Phase 2: sub-acute (weeks 2-4)
During the sub-acute phase, your child's symptoms will become less severe but may last longer. The fever should subside, but your child may still be irritable and in considerable pain. Symptoms during the second phase of Kawasaki disease may include:
◾Peeling skin on the fingers and toes – also sometimes on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.
◾Abdominal pain
◾Joint pain
◾Joint swelling
◾Lack of appetite
◾Abdominal pain
◾Urine that contains pus
◾Feeling drowsy and lacking energy (lethargic)
◾Joint pain and swollen joints
◾Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
Complications are more likely to occur during this phase and the child may experience more pain and be moody.

3rd Phase (Late stages) 
Later symptoms begin within two weeks of the fever. The skin on the hands and feet of your child may start to peel and come off in sheets. Some children may also develop temporary arthritis, or joint pain.
Other signs and symptoms include:
◾Abdominal pain
◾Enlarged gallbladder
◾Temporary hearing loss
◾Redness in both eyes
◾A very red, swollen tongue
◾Redness of the palms or soles
◾Skin peeling
◾A rash
◾Swollen lymph nodes.

Risk Factors
Kawasaki disease is most common in children, particularly those of Asian descent. About 75 percent of KD cases are children under the age of 5, according to the KDF. Researchers don’t believe that you can inherit the disease, but the risk factors tend to increase within families. Siblings of someone who has KD are 10 times more likely to have the disease. Three things are known to increase your child's risk of developing Kawasaki disease, including:
  • Age : Children under 5 years old are most at risk of Kawasaki disease.
  •  Sex : Boys are slightly more likely than girls are to develop Kawasaki disease.
  •  Ethnicity : Children of Asian or Pacific Island descent, such as Japanese or Korean, have higher rates of Kawasaki disease.
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Author: Richard Smith