The Telltale Symptoms of Kawasaki Disease

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  • The most distinctive symptom is a high fever (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit or more) that lasts longer than three days. Other noticeable indicators include red eyes (conjunctivitis), but without a thick discharge, as well as rashes on the torso and genital area
  • Children may develop shock as a side effect of Kawasaki disease. This is a potentially life-threatening complication that needs to be addressed immediately

The symptoms of Kawasaki disease are numerous but distinctive. They tend to appear during late winter and spring, but in some Asian countries, they may peak during the middle of summer.1 According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms appear in three phases:2,3

1. First Phase (First to Second Week) — During the onset of the disease, the symptoms appear immediately and tend to be severe. The most distinctive symptom is a high fever (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit or more) that lasts longer than three days. Other noticeable indicators include red eyes (conjunctivitis), but without a thick discharge, as well as rashes on the torso and genital area. Some parts of the body may be swollen, such as the lips, palms, soles and the lymph nodes.

2. Second Phase (Second to Fourth Week) — Once the symptoms reach into the second week, the skin on the fingertips and toes may peel in large sheets. Joint and abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting may appear. You must also watch out for lethargy and headaches. You must be observant because it is in the second phase of Kawasaki disease that health complications may develop, especially to the cardiovascular system.

3. Third Phase (Fourth to Sixth Week — In this phase, the severity of the symptoms will begin to slowly subside until you eventually feel better. However, you may still experience fatigue.

Kawasaki Disease May Cause Other Health Complications

Among children, Kawasaki disease is a leading cause of heart disease, as well as other complications. If not treated right away, the following problems may arise:4

Kawasaki disease shock syndrome (KDSS) — Children may develop shock as a side effect of Kawasaki disease. This is a potentially life-threatening complication that needs to be addressed immediately.5 Common symptoms of shock you need to watch out for include pale, bluish skin, visible blood vessels, weak pulse and low blood pressure.6

Aneurysm — Kawasaki disease can inflame the blood vessels, causing a section to weaken. This affected portion can develop a bulge due to blood pressure, which may lead to a blood clot. When the aneurysm ruptures, it can cause high blood pressure, chest pain, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and coughing.7

Myocardial Infarction (MI) — Commonly known as a heart attack, an MI is a condition wherein blood flow to the heart is suddenly stopped, usually due to a blood clot. This can cause lack of oxygen, resulting in the death of cardiac muscle in the affected area. Symptoms you need to watch out for include chest pain that can radiate to the jaw, neck arms and back, as well as shortness of breath and feeling weak or lightheaded.8

Visit a Doctor When You or Your Child Develops the Symptoms of Kawasaki Disease

While Kawasaki disease largely affects children, adults may develop it as well. In a report published in the Texas Heart Institute, doctors studied a 36-year old man who developed the symptoms of the disease.9 In another publication, a 24-year-old man was recorded to have the core symptoms of Kawasaki disease.10 If you or your child suddenly exhibits the symptoms of Kawasaki disease mentioned above, contact your doctor immediately for proper treatment.

MORE ABOUT KAWASAKI DISEASE

Kawasaki Disease: Introduction

What Is Kawasaki Disease?

Kawasaki Disease Symptoms

Kawasaki Disease Treatment

Kawasaki Disease Prevention

Kawasaki Disease Diet

Kawasaki Disease FAQ

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