In recent years, more and more parents are being aware of Kawasaki’s disease. The curiosity started when Kelly Preston and Backstreet Boys’ Brian Litrell admitted that their children have Kawasaki’s disease. In Kelly Preston’s case, she blames it for weakening her son’s heart muscles, therefore causing his early demise at age 16 in 2009. So what is it exactly? Does medicine for fever and muscle pain have any effect?
Kawasaki’s disease is a rare pediatric disease that affects the heart and the blood vessels. It largely affects children aged six months to below five. Although unusual, there have been reports of adults and older children being affected by it.
It was discovered by Tomisaku Kawasaki in 1961 after reporting that a four year old boy in Tokyo had a rash and a fever. Over a year, he documented fifty children across Japan with the same disease. It wasn’t until 1974 that the first English language literature about the disease was published.
It is more common in children from the eastern hemisphere, but in recent years, the number of cases in North America and United Kingdom has increased. In fact, in the United States, it is now the number one cause of acquired heart disease in children, overtaking rheumatic fever. There is no definite cause for the disease, although there are theories that some children may be genetically predisposed to it while some argue that it is caused by environmental factors such as chemicals in cleaning detergents.
Here are 6 Symptoms of Kawasaki’s Disease you should look out for:
The first symptom of Kawasaki’s disease is a moderate to high fever ranging from 38.3°C to 40.0°C accompanied by irritability. It does not respond to respond to paracetamols.
Check your child’s eyes. You might notice that his or her eyes may be red, similar to conjunctivitis but without the discharge.
Strawberry tongue occurs when your child has a swollen, red tongue with a white coating. Included in this symptom are swollen, dry and cracked lips.
One or two of your child’s lymph nodes may be swollen, which is a symptom of an infection. Check on each side of his or her neck for glands that are at least 1.5 cm in diameter.
Your child’s skin will be covered in rashes if they have Kawasaki’s disease. These rashes may be measles-like, red patches and bumps, red skin or target-like.
Later symptoms may include peeling skin on the hands and feet. It may come off in patches or it may come off in sheets and joint pain.
As soon as your child begins to show symptoms, bring him or her to the hospital immediately to begin treatment. If your doctor sees it fit, your child may be given high doses of aspirin to help fight the inflammation of the blood vessels around the heart. He or she might also be given a single intravenous dose of Gamma globulin, a mix of antibodies from donors. If this does not work within 36 hours, a second dose may be given.