Kawasaki Disease : no, its not from riding motorcycles
So a couple of weeks ago, my 20 month old son came down with a fever. He was irritable and not easily consoled. We were thinking a cold, or maybe even that dreaded flu that was just hitting California. But there were no other symptoms, no runny nose, no coughing, no congestion, nothing. Just a fever and irritability. The fever progressed, and got higher, and I was giving him motrin every 6 hours. After 3 days I finally made a doctors appointment. I knew it couldnt be a cold, or the flu, he had no other symptoms.
At the doctors, he had a fever of 101.5 but nothing else. Still no other symptoms. I was told by our pediatrician that these symptoms were going to come later in the next few days.
That was Thursday, on Saturday my little guy woke up and had blood shot eyes, bright red lips and a rash that looked like it was blistered, but wasnt, the skin was just peeling.
I called the advice nurse, only to be reassured that he most likely had viral pink eye because he had such a good immune system, his body was fighting off the other symptoms, coughing, congestion etc.
Well, come Monday, STILL running a high fever, I called again because he was now walking funny. I wasnt sure if it was from the rash or if maybe something else was wrong. The doctor on call told me to get to the emergency room, as there were no more doctor appointments available for the rest of the day.
When we got there, they did some poking and prodding, had to insert a catheter to get a clean urine sample, get some blood work done and a chest x-ray.
The doctor said that he didnt have this and he didnt have that and she thought that he might have something called Kawasaki Disease. Huh?
She explained that there are no tests to positively identify this disease, you just had to have a lot of the symptoms.
High fever for more than 5 days, check.
Red and or cracked lips, check.
Blood shot eyes, check.
Rash in the genital area, or peeling, check.
Joint pain, check.
The other symptoms that he did not hve are:
Swollen tongue with a white coating and big red bumps.
Sore, irritated throat.
Swollen palms of the hands and soles of the feet with a purple-red color.
Swollen lymph nodes.
Seeing as he had a few of those symptoms, they ran a CRT blood test, which measures the levels of inflammation in his body. It was 16, it should be at 1.
So, what is Kawasakis? It is basically inflammation of the small and medium red blood cells. If left untreated, it can cause serious complications to the heart such as Vasculitis and Arrhythmias. When treated within the first 10 days, there is usually no complications.
So how do you fix it?
At the hospital (which we got to spend a lovely 6 days and 5 nights) they start the treatment right away. Intravenous gamma globulin is given at a slow rate, his took about 12 hours. This is basically anti bodies, taken from a pool of other peoples blood. These anti bodies are what fight off the disease and help make you better. In our case, it took two IV treatments and lots of aspirin.
So, parents beware, when your child has a high fever for more than 3 days, itis best to get it checked out, because the sooner they start treatment, the less chance of heart problems later in life. Oh, and I wouldnt worry too much about your child contracting this. Only about 19 out of 100,ooo children get it. Of those, they are mostly male and younger than age 5.
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