Kawasaki disease is a rare illness that usually affects children younger than 5 years. It causes fever; red eyes; skin rash; red, swollen tongue; and dry, cracked lips. Sometimes skin peels off the hands and feet in big pieces. The child can have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and joint and belly pain.
Doctors do not know what causes Kawasaki disease. It is not passed from one person to another.
Kawasaki disease is usually treated with medicine given through a needle into a vein. Your child may need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. He or she may also need to take aspirin for a few weeks to prevent heart problems. This is one of the very few times a doctor would consider giving aspirin to your child.
If treated early, the problems caused by the disease begin to go away in 2 or 3 days. Most children recover fully and can return to their normal life in a couple of months. But Kawasaki disease that is not treated can cause serious heart damage and death.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child’s treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your child’s test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: July 26, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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