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Kawasaki Disease

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease (KD) is an illness in children that causes fever and inflammation of blood vessels. It usually occurs in children younger than 5 years old. KD can damage blood vessels in your child's heart. It can become life-threatening. KD can also cause heart problems as your child gets older, even into adulthood. The exact cause of KD is unknown. Healthcare providers believe it may be caused by an infection.

What are the signs and symptoms of KD?

There are 3 phases of KD. Most symptoms appear in the first phase. The first phase can last up to 2 weeks. Heart damage can happen during this phase. During the second phase, your child may not have any symptoms except peeling of your child's hands and feet. The second phase may last up to 4 weeks. In the third phase, your child will recover. You may notice ridges in his or her nails. This phase may last for years. The following are common symptoms of the first phase:

How is KD diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and when they started. The provider will examine your child and listen to his or her heart. There is no specific test to diagnose KD. Your child may need any of the following tests:

How is KD treated?

Your child will be hospitalized until he or she does not have a fever for 2 days. He or she may receive the following medicines:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to prevent the spread of germs?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.