Kawasaki disease is an illness that causes the inflammation of your blood vessels that mostly affects young children. According to the Kawasaki Disease Foundation, 80% of those suffering from the condition are less than 5 years old. Kawasaki disease is more likely to affect boys than girls, is very rare in adults, and is not contagious.
Viral infection has been suspected of causing Kawasaki disease, though, at this time, the cause is still unknown. If you or your child is diagnosed, don’t be hard on yourself as there is no known way to prevent the condition.
Kawasaki disease presents in three phases:
Symptoms of phase 1 include:
- Fever (a temperature over 102.2 Fahrenheit or 39 Celsius) lasting 5 or more days
- Strawberry tongue and cracked lips
- Eyes that are bloodshot and produce discharge (conjunctivitis)
- Rash in the abdomen or genital area
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck
- Swollen or red extremities (hands or feet)
Symptoms of phase 2 include:
- Skin peeling on extremities (hands or feet)
- Pain in your joints or abdominal region
- Diarrhea and vomiting
Symptoms of phase 3 include:
- Symptoms beginning to recover (though complications may occur)
- Fatigue and irritability that may continue for up to 8 weeks after your diagnosis
Important note: Kawasaki disease is the top cause of heart disease in children, so it’s essential to speak to your medical professional for diagnosis and treatment. Because there’s no test for Kawasaki disease, diagnosis is based on observation of you or your child's symptoms.