"Our child had Kawasaki Disease!"

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Kawasaki disease is a serious illness characterized by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body that primarily affects young children and infants.

Kawasaki Disease could be an extremely frightening experience for parents as there are simply no established tests to diagnose it – only a process of elimination.  We were asked to share our story to help other parents who may find themselves in a similar situation.

The start

Our son, Kai was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease when he was 7 months old. His symptoms started on a Thursday. Kai had been restless and irritable, waking up during the night and having a slightly elevated temperature. As Kai had started teething and the temperature wasn’t particularly high we just dismissed this as being down to teething.

On Friday, Kai’s temperature did not ease and he started to develop body rashes. On seeing this we went to KK Hospital where a blood test was performed. After several hours we were eventually seen by a doctor who advised us it could be an infection. No notable symptoms were present to make the doctor think this could be anything else other than a random infection that kids pick up.

The doctor even mentioned that as Kai was not displaying all the symptoms of Kawasaki Disease we had nothing to worry about. We went back home with some antibiotics and paracetamol and we were feeling more upbeat that nothing was seriously wrong.

kawaski new "Our child had Kawasaki Disease!"

We were instructed to give the antibiotics a few days to work, but Kai’s body rashes started to spread all over his body very quickly. While the fever persisted, Kai’s eyes became very bloodshot and his irritability and restlessness were still present. He wasn’t feeding well and was becoming weaker.

We were constantly searching online and all sort of internet suggestions came up which got us really worried and we couldn’t conclude what was exactly wrong with Kai. The next day we brought him to the family clinic nearby and the doctor suspected that it was in fact Kawasaki Disease and suggested us to monitor him another one or two days and if the fever persisted then then we should seek a second opinion.

We gave it another day to see if the antibiotics would work, but the fever still didn’t subside and Kai had developed swollen hands and feet and his lips became dry, cracked and red. We decided not to wait any longer as Kai had lost his appetite and couldn’t sleep at all. On Monday we went to KK Hospital again and Kai was admitted for suspected Kawasaki Disease.

The doctors took blood and urine samples to rule out any blood or urinary tract infections. An ultrasound scan on the heart was also carried out.

Watching your child battle with Kawasaki disease is a frightening experience. What are the symptoms to watch out for and how is it treated? Click on next to learn more.

Symptoms to watch out for

The doctor then explained that Kawasaki Disease, also known as Kawasaki syndrome, is a serious illness characterized by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body that primarily affects young children and infants. The disease affects people of all racial and ethnic groups. However, the cause is unknown, although an agent, like a virus is suspected. Kawasaki disease has the following early symptoms:

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  • Persistent high fever
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Body rash
  • Red palms/soles and swollen hands and feet
  • Strawberry tongue and red, cracked lips
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

By now Kai had the symptoms listed above, except strawberry tongue and swollen lymph nodes.

The doctor also explained that we had a 10 day window before any significant damage to the heart or arteries would occur. Monday was Day 5, counting from the previous Thursday.

On Tuesday (Day 6), initial results showed no infection in the urinary tract and blood. However, Kai’s symptoms had gotten worse and he looked pale and listless. His milk intake had dropped from 900ml a day to less than 100ml. We still had to wait another 24 hours for the detailed blood work to come back.

Meanwhile, Kai was on an antibiotic drip and the fever still persisted. It was very frustrating at this point as all we could see is that there was something very wrong with Kai and there was nothing we could do to make him feel better or more comfortable.

By Wednesday (Day 7), we were getting very frustrated and anxious. The detailed blood work had come back and was clear – no infections whatsoever.  At this point the decision was given by the doctors to give intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), which is the only treatment for Kawasaki Disease.

Treating Kawasaki Disease

The treatment was started at about 11am.  I remember that after the first vial had finished, the rash on Kai’s body was visibly reduced.  I can still remember the feeling of absolute relief that our son was returning to normal. It took the rest of the day to finish the IVIG treatment and by the next day Kai’s symptoms were significantly improved and had nearly disappeared, finally our boisterous bundle of trouble was back!!

As part of the follow-up monitoring, Kai remained on aspirin for a month and two heart scans were performed to make sure no inflammation of the heart or associated arteries was present.

We strongly suggest all the parents, should your child present any of the symptoms described above, get him checked at a hospital immediately. It’s never safe to perform any home remedy without consulting a doctor.

We would like to thank the staff of KK Hospital for all their help and assistance, and answering our (many) questions.

Read: Tuberculosis: Do you know enough about this fatal disease?

Republished with permission from: theAsianparent Singapore

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