Kawasaki disease is a rare illness in children. It usually affects children who are below 5 years of age but it can affect anyone at any age. It is caused by unknown factors. It is assumed that the overactive immune system, infectious agents such as virus or bacteria causes it. Its symptoms involve high body temperature, skin rashes, swelling of lips, mouth, hands, and feet and many others. It is a self-limited condition that goes in 10 -15 days and usually needs treatment. If it is not treated properly, it can lead to heart-related complications that can be fatal.
Is Kawasaki Disease A Chronic Illness?
Kawasaki disease (KD) is an inflammatory disease of lymph nodes, arteries, veins, and capillaries. It affects the skin, linings of mouth, nose, and throat. It affects the blood vessels the most. This disease affects mostly children and teenagers. It is one of the leading cause of heart problems in children. This disease is not a serious disease and it can be completely cured if treated in the early stages. If it is left untreated or neglected, the disease can cause serious infections of the heart.(1)
Kawasaki disease is also called Kawasaki syndrome or mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome. It was first noticed by Tomisaku Kawasaki in the year 1967. However, the disease existed for a long time. It affects boys more than girls.
Kawasaki disease is not a chronic disease but it possesses the lifelong risk of developing heart ailments. It represents its symptoms in 3 phases over a period of 6 weeks.
Kawasaki Disease Phase 1- Acute Phase
The duration of this phase is 1 to 2 weeks. In this phase, the symptoms appear suddenly and cause severe affections in the body. It makes the child irritable. Its symptoms include-
High Fever- Kawasaki child represents high fever that may be 38 C and above. It may rise up to 40 C. The fever comes on suddenly and is not relieved by fever medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. It remains in the body for 5 days. If it is not treated, it may extend to 11 days. In rare cases, it may last up to 3 to 4 weeks.
Rash- rashes may appear on the skin whose characteristics are different in different children.
Swelling Of Hands And Feet- swelling appears in the hands and feet which is red and painful. The child may avoid walking or crawling until the symptoms are present.
Eyes- eyes are red and swollen. It affects the white part of the eye.
Lips, Mouth Throat And Tongue-Lips are red, swollen, dry, cracked or peeled. It may even bleed. The inner part of the mouth and throat becomes swollen. The tongue is inflamed and covered with small lumps and is called strawberry tongue.
Swollen Lymph Glands- the lymph glands of the neck of the children are swollen.
Kawasaki Disease Phase 2- Sub Acute Phase
Phase 2 may remain for 2 to 4 weeks. In this phase, the symptoms begin to subside. Fever usually vanishes and the irritability of the child reduces. Its symptoms include-
- Pain in the abdomen
- Pus in the urine
- swelling in the joints
- yellowness of the eyes
- peeling of the skin of hands, toes, and soles of the feet
Kawasaki Disease Phase 3- Convalescent Period
This phase remains for 4 to 6 weeks. In this phase, the child begins to improve and symptoms disappear slowly. This phase is also called the convalescent phase. In this phase, the child is exhausted and tired.(1)
Kawasaki disease is a childhood disease of blood vessels, mucous membranes, and lymph nodes. It usually affects children of young age between 6 months to 5 years. It is not a chronic illness but it may leave long term impact on the heart.
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