Since then our middle child has turned 4yo, however our youngest became ill and has spent the past 6 days in hospital, being discharged today just in time for us all to celebrate Christmas together!
He came down with a rash and fever, then stopped eating and drinking so we took him to our local GP who suspected pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics. His condition deteriorated during the day so we presented to the local hospital's ER only to be sent home with advice that he had a virus and to treat it with pain relief. He did not get any better so we returned to the hospital ER a few days later when he deteriorated even further, he was then admitted to the children's ward. He was very sick and his first night in hospital saw the nursing staff calling a medical emergency and he was almost placed in intensive care. It was very frightening to see him so sick, we had been lucky that none of our children had needed hospital admissions previously.
After being placed on an IV drip for fluids to help rehydrate him and penicillin to assist with any infection, he underwent a number of tests to rule out several possible illnesses. With the elimination of other illnesses and the presentation of his symptoms, his diagnosis came back as Kawasaki Disease. Appropriate treatment was started and within 2 days he was a lot better and amazingly, well enough to go home! That day was today, Christmas Eve!
We were not previously familiar with Kawasaki Disease, though are now more informed as a result of this experience. The symptoms of Kawasaki Disease, taken from the Royal Children's Hospital factsheet are:
Signs and symptoms
The disease usually begins with a high fever (over 39 degrees Celcius) which continues for at least 5 days.
Many, but not all, children also develop other symptoms such as:
- Large, swollen glands in the neck
- A rash (that often peels later on in the illness)
- Red shiny or dry cracked lips
- Red, lumpy (strawberry looking) tongue
- Red eyes (conjunctivitis) without discharge
- Swollen / red hands or feet
- An unusual nappy rash
- Joint pains
- Extreme irritability (especially in young children)
Other diseases can be confused with Kawasaki disease. They may require different treatment.
The most important part of Kawasaki disease is that it may cause inflammation of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This occurs in about 25% of patients if they do not receive treatment.
For further information on Kawasaki Disease please click on any of these links:
Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne Australia
Westmead Children's Hospital, Sydney Australia
Kawasaki Disease Foundation Australia
PubMed Health USA
Kawasaki Disease Foundation USA
Kawasaki Disease Canada
We are very lucky to have our son home for Christmas, we know that many other families are not as fortunate.