Several weeks ago, my goddaughter was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease (KD). Luckily, her pediatrician had seen this before (although only in the distant past) and diagnosed her and initiated treatment early in the course of the disease. Both her mother (also an NP) and I had never heard of this rare condition, and yet while spreading the word to family and friends, several people had a Kawasaki story to share.

Whether you have young children of your own, know someone with young children, or care for young children, it is important to be aware of this rare, yet serious disease. My goddaughter had most, if not all, of the classic signs and symptoms:

• persistent, high fever
• red eyes
• red lips
• red tongue with white coating
• red palms of hands and soles of feet
• swollen lymph nodes
• joint swelling and pain
• swollen hands and feet
• skin rash (worse in the groin area).

KD causes inflammation of the blood vessels and the major risk is the possible development of aneurysms in the coronary arteries. Fortunately, she received the standard treatment of IVIG and high-dose aspirin and is doing well.

Want to learn more?
• Kawasaki Disease Foundation
• Short film to raise awareness of KD  (Kawasaki Disease Foundation)
• American Heart Association: Kawasaki Disease