Sunday, January 26, 2014

Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day!

Today is the day! The day the KD community unites as one to let everyone know about Kawasaki Disease. Of course, we do this on a daily basis, but today we go above & beyond our normal ways. Red porch lights, red clothing, fliers, posters, signs in our yards, buttons, cookies....the list goes on. 

Kawasaki disease (KD), 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. Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. Although about 80 percent of patients are under five years of age, older children and teenagers can also get KD, but this is uncommon. KD is more common in boys than girls, and the majority of cases are diagnosed in the winter and early spring. It is not contagious.

Kawasaki Disease is characterized by an inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body. There is no specific test for KD; doctors make a clinical diagnosis based on a collection of symptoms and physical findings. 
Early symptoms of KD include:
Fever that lasts for five or more days & is unresponsive to meds
Rash, often worse in the groin area
Red bloodshot eyes, without drainage or crusting
Bright red, swollen, cracked lips, "strawberry" tongue, which appears with shiny bright red spots after the top coating sloughs off
Swollen hands and feet and redness of the palms and soles of the feet
Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

NOTE: My daughter, Paige, had atypical or incomplete Kawasaki Disease. Meaning that she did not have all of the symptoms.

Just in case you're a visual learner.
Photo credit: The Kawasaki Disease Foundation

Without treatment, about 25% of children develop heart disease involving the coronary arteries. Timely diagnosis and treatment (which usually includes intravenous gamma globulin within a 10 day window) is highly effective in preventing coronary complications. Doctors continue to study the long-term outcome of children who do not appear to have coronary involvement.

A better picture of the man who has saved the lives of so many children,
Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki
Below is a video that shows the effects that Kawasaki Disease has on a child's heart. Written & produced by Dr. Jane C. Burns, MD, the director of the Kawasaki Disease Research Center at UCSD/Rady Children’s Hospital.

As a KD parent, I have to say that I am beyond thankful that so many people know about Kawasaki Disease today. And a large part of that has to do with celebrity status. 

It's Sarah Chalke!

Did you see this episode of Grey's Anatomy? I watched it & bawled like a baby, along with every other KD mother out there I'm sure. But Sarah Chalke wasn't just playing a part. She was in a way, reliving a nightmare. Sarah is a KD mom herself & thanks to this particular episode entitled, "Can't Fight This Feeling,", millions of people were made aware of Kawasaki Disease. 

So remember...

For my KD kid, Paige.

This is Paige a few years ago, with her bracelet.

Please go here, to read Paige's KD story. Spoiler alert: you'll need some tissues!

1 comment: