WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Kawasaki disease (KD) is a rare illness in children that causes fever and vasculitis. Vasculitis is a condition where the walls of your child's blood vessels become inflamed (swollen). KD is commonly seen in children from 6 months to 5 years of age. It may also occur in older children and in children younger than six months old. KD may damage the blood vessels in your child's heart and cause heart problems. KD is more common in male children and those of Asian descent.
- The exact cause of KD is not known. It is believed to be caused by an infection from germs called bacteria or viruses. Your child may have a fever for more than five days, a rash, and dry, red, cracked lips. He may also have swollen lymph nodes in his neck, and red eyes. His skin on the palms of his hands and bottoms of his feet may be red and scaly. Your child may need blood tests, an echocardiogram, imaging tests, and a chemical stress test. Treatments include medicines such as aspirin and immune globulin, or surgery. Having your child's condition treated during its early stage may resolve his symptoms. Treatment may also prevent severe heart problems and his risk for a heart attack in the future.
Your child's medicines are:
- Keep a current list of your child's medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.
- Aspirin: This medicine is also an anti-platelet drug. It helps thin your child's blood so clots do not form. Aspirin may also help decrease your child's fever. If caregivers tell your child to take aspirin, do not let him take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Aspirin may cause a very serious illness called Reye's syndrome. Reye's syndrome may cause brain and liver damage. Do not give more or less aspirin to your child than what his caregiver says. Ask your child's caregiver for more information about Reye's syndrome.
- Blood thinners: This medicine helps stop clots from forming in your child's blood. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death.
- Clot busters: This medicine helps break apart blood clots. Once the blood clots are gone, blood flow may increase to your child's heart muscle. The medicine is given in your child's IV. An IV is a tube placed in your child's vein for giving medicine or liquids. This medicine may decrease the amount of damage to your child's heart muscle, and may save his life.
- Immune globulin: This medicine may be given to help your child's immune system fight his infection. Ask your caregiver for more information about how immune globulin medicine may help your child.
- Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation, which is redness, pain, and swelling. There are many different reasons to take steroids. With KD, steroid medicine may help prevent problems with your child's immune system. Be sure you understand why your child needs steroids. Do not let your child stop taking this medicine unless his caregiver tells you to.
Follow-up visit information:
Your child may need follow-up exams to check his heart. Your child's caregiver may also need to make changes to the amount of medicine your child is taking. Ask your child's caregiver how often he should return for a visit. Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you and your child may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your child's next visit.
Caring for your child:
You may help your child by doing the following:
- Apply balm on your child's sore lips or peeling skin.
- If your child smokes, tell him to stop smoking. Talk to your child's caregiver if he needs help to quit smoking.
- If your child has constipation (hard, dry stools), talk to his caregiver about what medicines may be helpful.
- If your child has diarrhea (loose-watery stools), talk to his caregiver about what medicines may be helpful.
- Talk to your child's caregiver before he returns to any physical activities. If your child is taking blood thinning medicines, he may bleed or bruise easily. Your child may need to avoid certain activities for a period of time after treatment.
- Wait to have your child vaccinated for 9 months after treatment for KD.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- Your child is not eating or drinking, and is getting weaker.
- Your child is taking aspirin medicine and has been around someone with the flu or chicken pox.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition, treatment, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has a reaction to his medicines.
- Your child has blood coming out of his nose, mouth, urine or stool.
- Your child has very bad tummy pain.
- Your child suddenly has trouble breathing.
- Your child has fainted (passed out).
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.