Kawasaki Disease

What is Kawasaki Disease?

Kawasaki disease is characterized by swelling in the medium-sized arteries in the body. This includes the coronary arteries, which are the arteries that supply blood directly from the heart.

This name describes the fact that it affects lymph nodes, skin, the membranes inside the mouth, the membranes inside the nose, and the membranes inside the throat. The symptoms of the disease can be quite scary. However, many people recover from Kawasaki disease and go on to live normal lives.

What are the Symptoms of Kawasaki Disease?

The symptoms of Kawasaki disease appear in several phases as outlined above:

Phase 1

The symptoms of the first phase can include the following:

  • A fever that is higher than 102 F. This fever can last for longer than 5 days.
  • Red eyes that are not accompanied by a thick discharge.
  • A rash on the abdomen and back, as well as in the genital area.
  • Severely chapped lips, swollen tongue
  • The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet become red and swollen.
  • Sudden irritability.

Phase 2

In the second part of the disease, children may develop the following symptoms:

  • Skin peeling on the hands, feet, fingers, and toes. The skin usually peels in large sheets.
  • Pain in the joints
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen

Phase 3

The third phase of the disease is where the symptoms go away slowly. Children who have developed complications may take longer to recover.

For children who do not develop complications, it could be approximately eight weeks before their normal energy levels return.

How is Kawasaki Disease Treated?

One of the main goals of treatment is to prevent complications. Initial treatment for Kawasaki disease is given in the hospital. This is because the first phase is when the majority of complications occur during the first phase.

After the fever is controlled, your child may be released from the hospital. If your child develops a secondary condition, such as chickenpox, their treatment may be altered in order to prevent causing other complications.

Children who do not receive treatment for Kawasaki disease can develop heart problems, which may not be evident until later in life, or it could become evident immediately.

Last Reviewed:
October 06, 2016
Last Updated:
September 01, 2017