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What Is the Treatment for Kawasaki Disease?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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The primary treatment for Kawasaki disease is intravenous gamma globulin and occasionally aspirin. Additional treatments such as steroids may also be used in severe cases. Other treatments may also be used if complications arise, although this is relatively rare.

Kawasaki disease is a condition which causes a widening of the blood vessels. This leads to a high-grade fever, and rarely, complications with the liver and other organ systems, if the fever becomes too severe. Oftentimes the only noticeable symptom is fever.

Treatment for Kawasaki disease may include gamma globulin given intravenously in the hospital. This helps the blood vessels shrink to their normal size. Aspirin may also be given orally. These treatments together returns vessels to their normal size and help to lower fever. When performed quickly, treatment for Kawasaki disease is generally successful and patients make a full recovery.

Occasionally, steroids will be used in treatment for Kawasaki disease. This is typically reserved for cases when fever is extremely high and organ damage is a concern. Sometimes damage will occur, and repair of the organ systems may be needed. This is relatively rare when symptoms are caught quickly and treated immediately.

Parent of children who exhibit high fever should consult a medical professional immediately because this could be the sign of Kawasaki disease or another condition. Although usually controllable, fever can become a serious threat if allowed to continue out of control. Anti-fever medications are usually beneficial. Thorough tests should be done in order to determine if symptoms are typical of Kawasaki disease.

Before treatment for Kawasaki disease can be done, it must first be diagnosed. There is no typical test or series of tests which detect Kawasaki. It is usually diagnosed on by ruling out other potential causes of symptoms, and by observing which symptoms are present. Aside from fever, bloodshot eyes, reddening of the mouth, nausea, vomiting, as well as other ailments may be present.

Children may be more likely to suffer from Kawasaki disease than adults. Most make a full recovery once full treatment has been given. Other conditions should be tested for before making a diagnosis of Kawasaki disease since many other childhood illnesses are much more common and can cause similar symptoms.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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