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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. Your child may also take aspirin for a few weeks to reduce inflammation and prevent blood clots. This is one of the very few times a doctor would consider giving aspirin to your child.
Early treatment can shorten the illness and help prevent blood vessel and heart damage. 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: May 27, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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